"These findings have important implications for individualizing therapy," said Katherine Garman, M.D., a gastroenterology fellow at Duke and lead investigator on the study. "By examining gene expression in early-stage colon cancer tumors, we have found certain patterns that seem to put some patients at higher risk for recurrence. By identifying these patients up front, we may be able to treat them in a targeted and proactive manner to prevent this recurrence and help them live longer and healthier lives."
The findings are due to appear in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, between November 24 and November 26, 2008. The study was funded by the Emilene Brown Cancer Research Fund and the National Institutes of Health.
The researchers studied gene expression data from 52 samples of early stage colon cancer tumors, looking for patterns. Then they correlated the gene expression patterns with patient progress reports to track the recurrence of cancer. The predictive power of the correlations was subsequently tested in two independent data sets from 55 and 73 tumors, respectively.
"In our small dataset, we were able to predict which tumors were at risk for recurring, with 90 percent accuracy," Garman said.
In collaboration with colon cancer specialist David Hsu, M.D., the researchers then took their study one very significant step further, using the data garnered about gene expression and prognosis to examine response to several different types of therapy.
"Importantly, we found that the traditional chemotherapy given to patients with colon cancer varies considerably in its ability to treat tumors with a high likelihood of cancer recurrence," Garman said. "Using the gene-expression data to guide us, we then identified several other drugs and tested those drugs in our samples. The drugs chosen were novel targeted therapies and anti-inflammatory agents that go after certain cancer cell pathways and had been previously shown to alter colon cancer biology."
"Two of the drugs we tested seemed to cause significant changes in tumor biology in a laboratory dish, effectively making a high-recurrence-risk tumor into a low-recurrence-risk tumor by altering the genetic makeup," Garman said. "These therapies would need to be tested further in a clinical trial."
Conventional methods of characterizing tumors currently rely on pathological information such as tumor size, lymph node involvement and degree of metastasis, Garman said. Doctors use these kinds of clinical data to determine whether an early stage colon cancer patient receives chemotherapy after surgery, and if so, what type.
"Integration of genomic and genetic markers will revolutionize the way we care for patients," Garman said.
"This is a perfect example of how science can change the way cancer care is practiced," said Anil Potti, M.D., a researcher in the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and senior investigator on this study. "We hope that advances such as this will individualize the treatment plans for patients with colon cancer and improve survival."
About 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year in the United States and almost 50,000 are expected to die of the disease in 2008. Up to 30 percent of patients diagnosed with early stage colon cancer can go on to experience recurrences despite initial cure with surgery and chemotherapy when indicated.
Lauren Shaftel Williams | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy