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New computer model may aid personalized cancer care
Date:1/23/2014

aid Polyak.

The computer model cranked out some general findings. For one, the genetic diversity within a tumor, such as differences in how many copies of a DNA segment are present didn't change much in cancers that had no response or only a partial response to treatment.

Another result: Tumors with less genetic diversity among their cells are more likely to completely respond to treatment than are tumors with more genetic complexity. "In general, high genetic diversity is not a good thing," commented Polyak. "The results show that higher diversity is making you less likely to respond to treatment."

While the genetic diversity of tumor cells was not strongly affected by chemotherapy in patients with partial or no response to treatment, the study revealed that certain types of cells those more likely to grow rapidly were more likely to be eliminated, and the locations of cell populations changed.

"Based on this knowledge," said Polyak, "we could predict which tumor cells will likely be eliminated or slowed down by treatment, and how this may change the tumor overall." She said this information might help design further treatment strategies for patients who didn't respond well to the initial therapy.

In the future, said the researchers, cancer doctors may use models of this type to analyze a patient's tumor at the time it's diagnosed; the results could help tailor specific drugs and plan treatment strategies matched to the tumor's predicted behavior.

First author of the report is Vanessa Almendro, PhD, of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.


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Contact: Robbin Ray
robbin_ray@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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