Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Different gene-expression predictors of breast cancer agree

Breast cancer researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified a number of activity patterns in the genes of individual tumors that make them biologically different from others. These findings could provide valuable clinical information such as how likely the tumors are to be invasive, how well they might respond to different treatments and how likely they are to recur or spread.

Currently, doctors treating patients with breast cancer make treatment decisions and predictions based largely on the location and size of the tumor and if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to lymph nodes and distant sites of the body.

But not all patients who are similar in terms of these clinical indicators get the same benefits from treatment.

These new findings could remedy that situation. Such differences in gene activity may be used as biomarkers to identify which treatments can be individually matched.

Over the past five years, gene expression profiles have been identified that appear to be predictive for cancer patients, especially for breast cancer patients. But these tests show very little overlap in their gene lists, and thus it is not known just how distinct these different assays might be.

According to Dr. Charles M. Perou, assistant professor of genetics and pathology at the UNC School of Medicine and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, some of the predictive assays are available commercially and others are under study in clinical trials in which treatment decisions, including whether or not to use chemotherapy, are being made based on them.

"An important and unanswered question, however, is whether these assays actually disagree or agree concerning outcome predictions for the individual patient," Perou said. "I think this is a very important point because if they disagree then it becomes difficult to determine which to use and when, and which are more robust and helpful."

To compare the individual predictions made by these different genomic tests, Perou and his colleagues at UNC and at The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, studied the concordance of five different predictors that were all applied to a single data set of 295 tumor samples for which patient survival data was available – relapse-free survival and overall survival.

Writing in the Aug. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers note that four predictors showed "significant agreement" in their outcome predictions on individual breast cancer patients, despite having little gene overlap. Of the three predictors showing the greatest concordance, two were the main assays that are commercially available and being used to guide clinical trials.

"If one assay said this patient was going to do poorly, then so did the other two," Perou said, noting that although the two commercial assays overlapped each other only by one gene, they were in 80 percent agreement with each other.

"This is good news for breast cancer patients. It means that different groups have independently arrived at tests which agree with each other and that they all do add information not provided by existing clinical tests," Perou said.

For example, several of the predictors in this study appear to predict the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence in various populations of women with node-negative disease.

Such information would be useful for identifying women who are unlikely to experience recurrence and, thus, potentially unlikely to benefit from chemotherapy.

"We find our results encouraging and interpret them to mean that although different gene sets are being used, they are each tracking a common set of biological characteristics that are present across different breast cancers and are making similar outcome predictions," Perou said.

L. H. Lang | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>