Genomic sequencing of 62-year-old patient leads to new treatment option
In a scientific first, the fusion of two genes, ALK and EML4, has been identified as the genetic driver in an aggressive type of thyroid cancer, according to a study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
These groundbreaking findings are based on genetic sequencing of tumor cells from a 62-year-old patient with an aggressive tall cell variant of papillary thyroid cancer, according to the study published Tuesday, March 18, in the World Journal of Surgery, the official journal of the International Society of Surgery.
The patient's thyroid cancer recurred after he had undergone multiple operations, external beam radiation and chemotherapy, and so the patient appeared to be a candidate for additional study.
Following one surgery in June 2011, a sample of the patient's tumor was obtained and studied by whole-genome sequencing, in which TGen spells out, in order, the more than 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA.
A comparison of the tumor DNA to the patient's normal DNA found 57 mutations in 55 genes of the cancer genome. The investigators also found a rearrangement between two genes. This translocation and fusion of EML4-ALK was identified as the genetic driver of the patient's cancer.
"This is the first report of the whole genome sequencing of a papillary thyroid cancer, in which we identified an EML4-ALK translocation. This is important because we have a drug that can target this fusion and treat the patient," said Dr. Michael J. Demeure, Clinical Professor and Director of TGen's Rare Cancer Unit, and the study's the study's principal investigator and lead author. "This patient's tumor did not harbor more well-known gene mutations that are associated with most thyroid cancers. These findings suggest that this tumor has a distinct oncogenesis, or the genetic cause of cancer."
There are few therapeutic options for patients with radioiodine-resistant aggressive papillary thyroid cancer. The EML4-ALK fusion appears in about 5 percent of lung cancers, which are usually treated with a targeted drug known as crizotinib.
By identifying the EML4-ALK fusion in this study, TGen was able to recommend crizotinib for this study's 62-year-old patient, whose cancer then remained progression-free for more than 6 months.
"Whole-genome sequencing technologies offer the promise of allowing for precision targeted treatment for human diseases, including cancer," said Dr. John Carpten, TGen Deputy Director of Basic Science, and Director of TGen's Integrated Cancer Genomics Division, and the study's senior author. "Through a greater understanding of the molecular oncogenesis of a specific cancer, one would hope to devise more effective, individualized treatments."
Whole genome sequencing is particularly beneficial for patients with relatively rare tumors, since they generally have less access to new drug treatments often available through clinical trials, according to the study, Whole-genome sequencing of an aggressive BRAF wild-type papillary thyroid cancer identified EML4-ALK translocation as a therapeutic target.
Also contributing to this study were physicians from Arizona Oncology, and Scottsdale Pathology Consultants.
# # #
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.
TGen Senior Science Writer
Steve Yozwiak | EurekAlert!
Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel
Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
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...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Event News