Navigation Links
Researchers identify genetic markers for aggressive head and neck cancer
Date:3/18/2009

March 18, 2009 (BRONX, NY) Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified genetic markers that signal poor outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer. These findings could one day lead to a genetic test that could help select or predict successful treatment options for patients with this type of cancer. The results were published in the American Journal of Pathology.

Head and neck cancer refers to tumors in the mouth, throat or larynx (voice box). Each year, about 40,000 men and women in the U.S. develop head and neck cancer, making it the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation are the main treatment options but cause serious side effects: surgery may involve removing large areas of the tongue, throat, or neck and can affect appearance, and any type of therapy can cause swallowing or speech problems that can significantly affect quality of life. Despite curative treatment attempts, on average only about half of patients survive beyond five years after treatment. This is greatly affected by the size and location of the tumor.

The Einstein study focuses on microRNAs, a recently identified class of short RNA molecules that play key roles in regulating gene expression. Abnormal microRNA levels have been associated with all types of cancer yet examined.

In previous research, the Einstein scientists and other groups reported that approximately 50 specific microRNAs were expressed at higher or lower levels in head and neck tumor cell lines compared with normal cells. In this study, the Einstein researchers, for the first time, have linked levels of specific microRNAs with tumor recurrence and poorer survival in head and neck cancer.

The Einstein team analyzed samples from 104 head and neck cancer patients from Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein. The patients were treated and followed over five years. At the time of cancer diagnosis and before any therapy, researchers removed samples tumor tissue from patients, as well as normal tissue adjacent to their tumor, and measured microRNA levels in the two types of tissue.

Patients who fared worst had the lowest levels of two particular microRNAs─miR-205 and let-7d─in their tumor tissue. Specifically, these patients were four times more likely to have an earlier metastasis or local-regional recurrence of their cancer than patients with higher levels of miR-205 and let-7d in tumor tissue.

These findings may eventually be put to practical use, allowing physicians to identify potentially aggressive head and neck cancers and choose the most appropriate treatment. "A biologic marker identifying aggressive tumors would allow us to direct therapy more appropriately, minimizing over or under-treatment," explained Richard Smith, M.D., the lead clinician on the paper. Dr. Smith is associate professor of clinical otorhinolaryngology-head & neck surgery and associate professor of surgery at Einstein, and vice-chair of otorhinolaryngology-head & neck surgery at Einstein and Montefiore.

"In addition, these molecules, or modified forms of these molecules, can potentially be used in treatment because their small size allows them to be reintroduced into cells with the possibility of altering the behavior of a tumor," says Geoffrey Childs, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Einstein and corresponding author of the article.

"Our next steps are to confirm these results in a new patient population and to find additional markers that would allow us to develop a reproducible and accurate prognostic test," explained Nicolas Schlecht, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and population health, and of medicine at Einstein. Dr. Schlecht is also the Miriam Mandel faculty scholar in cancer research and a senior author of the paper.


'/>"/>

Contact: Deirdre Branley
dbranley@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-2923
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stanford researchers develop biodegradable substitutes for wood, plastic bottles and other materials
2. NASA researchers find clues to a secret of life
3. Carnegie Mellon researchers apply new statistical test
4. Regulatory molecule for tumor formation or suppression identified by Singapore, US researchers
5. K-State researchers help Epitopix license the United States first E. coli O157 vaccine for cattle
6. Researchers take first look at the genetic dynamics of inbreeding depression
7. K-State biologist collaborating with researchers in Africa on grassland sustainability, biodiversity
8. Researchers identify new way the malaria parasite and red blood cells interact
9. Iowa State researchers developing clean, renewable energy for ethanol industry
10. Researchers discover gene mutations that cause childhood brain cancer
11. Pitt researchers describe molecular 2-step leading to protein clumps of Huntingtons disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ... appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive ... their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we ...
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract ... to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its ... attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device ... on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together ... as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... the implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization ... progesterone and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: