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Gene may predict if further cancer treatments are needed
Date:3/28/2014

DALLAS March 28, 2014 UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are developing a new predictive tool that could help patients with breast cancer and certain lung cancers decide whether follow-up treatments are likely to help.

Dr. Jerry Shay, Vice Chairman and Professor of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern, led a three-year study on the effects of irradiation in a lung cancer-susceptible mouse model. When his team looked at gene expression changes in the mice, then applied them to humans with early stage cancer, the results revealed a breakdown of which patients have a high or low chance of survival.

The findings, published online in Clinical Cancer Research, offer insight into helping patients assess treatment risk. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy that can destroy tumors also can damage surrounding healthy tissue. So with an appropriate test, patients could avoid getting additional radiation or chemotherapy treatment they may not need, Dr. Shay said.

"This finding could be relevant to the many thousands of individuals affected by these cancers and could prevent unnecessary therapy," said Dr. Shay, Associate Director for Education and Training for the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern. "We're trying to find better prognostic indicators of outcomes so that only patients who will benefit from additional therapy receive it."

Dr. Shay's study closely monitored lung cancer development in mice after irradiation. His group found some types of irradiation resulted in an increase in invasive, more malignant tumors. He examined the gene expression changes in mice well before some of them developed advanced cancers. The genes in the mouse that correlated with poor outcomes were then matched with human genes. When Dr. Shay's team compared the predictive signatures from the mice with more than 700 human cancer patient signatures, the overall survivability of the patients correlated wi
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Contact: Patrick McGee
patrick.mcgee@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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