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Molecular pathways linked to sex, age affect outcomes in lung cancer
Date:2/9/2010

in the tumors, then selected twelve of the most common molecular pathways that become dysregulated in NSCLC. The goal was to identify any patterns linking the pathways to age, sex and time to recurrence. They sorted the patients by age and sex and then again into low- and high-risk groups, based on five-year, recurrence-free survival.

They found that certain molecular pathways were more frequently activated in some groups than others and that certain pathway patterns were associated with better long-term survival in patients with lung cancer. Specifically, they found that:

  • High-risk patients those with the shortest time to recurrence were significantly more likely to have increased activation of the pathways responsible for tumor metastasis and necrosis, when compared with low-risk patients.
  • High-risk patients 70 or older were found to have higher activation of pathways regulating blood supply and invasiveness.
  • In comparing high-risk women to high-risk men, they found that men were more likely to have a much more complex pattern of multiple pathways being activated than women with the same type of lung cancer.

The study also identified a subset of patients over age 70 who had a low-risk profile, meaning the molecular pathways activated in their tumors would likely give them a better chance at long-term survival. Potti says that's important because people over age 70 are generally not included in many clinical trials and physicians often hesitate to offer them the option of conventional chemotherapy. "The thinking has been that they may not withstand the treatment or benefit from it much. But now we know that it probably makes sense to consider treating this population, by risk-stratifying the disease," says Potti.

Potti says it is likely that there are additional cancer-promoting pathways that are involved in the development and progression of NSCLC and adds that these findings must be validated in oth
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Contact: Michelle Gailiun
michelle.gailiun@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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