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Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients
Date:1/23/2012

s) in head and neck tumors compared with its levels in adjacent normal tissue.

The researchers ranked these 123 patients according to how extreme the difference was between the miR-375 in their tumor and in adjacent normal tissue, with that difference expressed as the ratio "miR-375 level in patient's tumor tissue divided by miR-375 level in patient's normal tissue." All patients were then followed throughout the course of their illness.

MiR-375 proved to be a highly useful biomarker for predicting disease outcome. The patients for whom the difference between their tumor and normal-tissue miR-375 levels was most extreme (i.e., the one-fourth of patients with the lowest ratios) were nearly 13 times more likely to die or 9 times more likely to experience distant spread (metastasis) of their cancer compared to patients with higher miR-375 ratios.

"As as a result of our study," Dr. Childs noted, "we hope that miR-375 will become part of a laboratory test to determine which patients have potentially lethal tumors and therefore should be treated aggressively following initial diagnosis. Our entire head and neck cancer group is working to identify and refine additional biomarkers to create a useful clinical test or 'personalized genetic signature' to help individual patients get the best possible treatment."


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Contact: Kimberly Newman
kimberly.newman@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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