The researchers used genetic approaches to identify an 11-gene BMI-1-pathway signature, which determines normal stem cell proliferation and which also consistently displays a stem cell-like expression profile in metastatic tumors in a mouse cancer model as well as metastatic tumors from prostate cancer patients. The results show that a stem cell-like expression profile of the 11-gene signature in primary tumors is a very consistent and powerful predictor of a short interval to disease recurrence, metastasis, and death after therapy in cancer patients diagnosed with ten distinct types of cancer.
This work indicates that the presence of the conserved BMI-1-associated gene expression pathway that exists in a very malignant subset of human cancers predicts a marked predisposition toward metastasis and a high probability of poor therapy outcome. In an accompanying commentary, Gordon Mills and others write, "such a "magic marker" [will] have a major impact on patient care."
TITLE: Microarray analysis identifies a death from cancer signature predicting therapy failure in patients with multiple types of cancer