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Mayo Clinic: Gene expression profiling not quite perfected in predicting lung cancer prognosis

While there have been significant advances in the use of gene expression profiling to assess a cancer prognosis, a Mayo Clinic review and analysis of existing lung cancer studies shows that this technology has not yet surpassed the accuracy of conventional methods used to assess survival in lung cancer patients.

The interest in and the knowledge of gene expression profiling in medical science has exploded since the completion of the human genome project in 2003. Researchers caution that the science of gene expression profiling, in which scientists examine the genetic signature of a cell, is in its infancy, particularly in lung cancer.

"Growing evidence suggests that gene-based prediction is not stable and little is known about the prediction power of a gene expression profile as compared to well-known clinical and pathologic predictors," according to Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D., the corresponding author of the study that appears in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (CEBP). The study's first author is Zhifu Sun, M.D., a research associate with the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Yang, a researcher with Mayo Clinic's Department of Health Sciences, said that while gene expression profiling has been successfully used to classify various tumors and assess tumor stage, metastasis and patient survival rates, the evidence suggests that gene-based prediction for lung cancer is not yet entirely dependable. However, some results have been promising: gene profiling has reliably predicted patient survival for lung adenocarcinoma almost as well as established predictors.

The results of conventional methods that factor in age, gender, stage, cell type and tumor grade outweigh the predictive advantage of a gene expression profile. "Any new technique that does not significantly outperform less expensive and easily conducted approaches is less likely to be useful in clinical practice," the
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Source:Mayo Clinic


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