One of the most common challenges facing oncologists today is determining the best course of treatment for their patients - one that would be effective and have the fewest possible side effects. In a study presented today at the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in New Orleans, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have identified genetic markers in the blood that can help predict a patients response to and side effects from irinotecan, a common chemotherapy drug for colorectal cancer.
Leslie E. Carlini, Ph.D., a research associate in the Fox Chase laboratory of Rebecca L. Blanchard, Ph.D., presented the findings. Their research focuses on genetic variations that influence the effect of medicines on different people - an area of study called pharmacogenetics. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the way drugs are prescribed by identifying individuals who are likely to benefit from a specific medicine or who are at increased risk of serious side effects.
"Our data suggest that variations in genes that help metabolize irinotecan may be useful predictors of how well colorectal cancer patients respond to this drug and how severe side effects will be," Carlini said.
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