For example, in prostate cancer—a tumor in the prostate gland that lies between the bladder and the rectum—late radiation toxicity affects rectal, bladder, and sexual function in 5–10% of patients. A new study by Micheline Giphart-Gassler (Leiden University Medical Center) and colleagues published in the international open-access journal PLoS Medicine now suggests that in the future scientists might be able to tell who is at higher risk for such late toxicity and adjust treatments accordingly.
Scientists don’t know why some patients develop late radiation toxicity, but one theory is that some patients have a genetic predisposition. Giphart-Gassler and colleagues tested this by comparing radiation-induced changes in the gene expression profiles in blood cells from 21 patients who had late radiation toxicity after radiotherapy with the changes seen in cells from patients who did not developed such complications. Irradiation with X-rays induced the expression of numerous genes in the cells, including many known radiation-responsive genes. From those, the researchers derived a gene expression profile (or molecular signature) that was associated with late radiation toxicity. A signature based on the radiation response of 50 individual genes correctly classified 63% of the patient population in terms of whether they had developed late radiation toxicity. A signature based on the radiation response of gene sets containing genes linked by function or cellular localization correctly classified 86% of the patient population.
While these results are not robust enough to apply them in a clinical setting, they support the idea that some patients are genetically predisposed to develop late radiation toxicity and also provide clues about which cellular pathways might be involved. The study suggests that it might one day be possible to predict which patients are at high and at low risk for late-radiation toxicity, respectively, and adjust their treatment accordingly. The results also point to certain molecular pathways involved in response to radiation which might be targets for interventions that protect against the toxic side effects of radiation.
As Adrian Begg (Radboud University Medical Center) states in an accompanying Perspective article, these are intriguing, preliminary results on an important question that has been difficult to answer. Future studies are needed to determine whether expression profiles such as this one can serve as robust predictors of late radiation toxicity.
Citation: Svensson JP, Stalpers LJA, Esveldt–van Lange REE, Franken NAP, Haveman J, et al. (2006) Analysis of gene expression using gene sets discriminates cancer patients with and without late radiation toxicity. PLoS Med 3(10): e422.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy