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MATH, HPV status in HNSCC patients effective markers of improved patient outcome
Date:2/20/2014

Scottsdale, Ariz., February 20, 2014Evaluating next-generation sequencing (NGS) data and associated clinical records of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients from several institutions, made available through The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), showed that combining Mutant-Allele Tumor Heterogeneity (MATH) as a biomarker with the patient's HPV status provides an effective indicator of improved patient outcome, according to research presented today at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

The TCGA data available for HNSCC patients included 302 patients, with 35 HPV-positive patients. The researchers' examination confirmed that high tumor MATH at time of surgery is an indicator of poor outcome (high-MATH hazard ratio (HR) = 2.1; 95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.4 to 3.2; p = 0.0002, logrank test) and that HPV-positive HNSCC patients have lower average MATH values than HPV-negative HNSCC patients. In bivariate analysis, both MATH and HPV were significantly associated with survival. When stratified by HPV status, MATH was similarly related to outcome in clinically defined subsets of patients regardless of clinical characteristics (tumor margins, nodal classification or tumor staging). Median follow-up with the 173 surviving patients was 22 months.

A tumor can contain many different types of cancer cells. Standard DNA sequencing discovers both the DNA mutations that differ among cancer cells and gives a measure of diversity. Genetic heterogeneity of each tumor was assessed by MATH, the percentage ratio of the width to the center of the distribution of tumor-specific mutant-allele fractions. In order to compare to previous studies, analysis was limited to mutant-allele fractions no less than 0.075, and the high-MATH cutoff value of 32, previously found to distinguish outcome classes, was used. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to evaluate the relations of MATH and HPV to overall survival.

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Contact: Michelle Kirkwood
michellek@astro.org
703-286-1600
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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