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Gene information predicts survival time, possible new treatment options for lung-cancer patients
Date:12/14/2010

DALLAS Dec. 14, 2010 Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered sets of genes active in cancer cells and normal tissue that predict survival time and potential new treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

"Patient responses to cancer treatment vary widely and often depend on subtle biological differences among tumors," said Dr. David Mangelsdorf, chairman of pharmacology at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study, published Dec. 14 by PLoS Medicine.

"These findings are important because the ability to determine which genes are being expressed in each person's tumor, as well as a patient's likely survival time, can guide physicians to the most effective and appropriate personalized treatments," he said.

Researchers involved in the study at UT Southwestern and UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center carefully microdissected lung tumors and adjacent healthy lung tissue from 30 patients. To determine which genes were active, they examined each sample for the presence of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) associated with the 48 known genes for molecules called nuclear hormone receptors.

The research team then compared the set of active genes, also called a gene expression profile or gene signature, with the actual clinical outcome of each study patient. They found that the expression of genes for specific nuclear hormone receptors was an excellent predictor of which patients were likely to survive the longest. They validated their test by screening more than 500 additional lung-tumor samples and accurately predicting those patients' outcomes.

In particular, the presence of two nuclear receptors the short heterodimer partner (SHP) and the progesterone receptor (PR) in tumor tissue was predictive of a good prognosis. Patients with those so-called biomarkers in their cancer cells lived the longest.

In normal lung tissue, a good prognosis was associated with the presence
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Contact: Amanda Siegfried
amanda.siegfried@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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