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New research from Rhode Island Hospital may help predict outcomes for stomach cancer patients
Date:7/16/2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have identified two potential molecular markers that may predict outcomes for patients with stomach cancer, one of the most common and fatal cancers worldwide.

According to the study, published in the July 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, patients who had poor outcomes following surgery for stomach cancer also had extremely low amounts of two proteins, known as gastrokine 1 and 2 (GKN1 and GKN2), which are produced by normal stomach cells.

The study's findings confirm previous research showing that once stomach cells become cancerous, they manufacture very low amounts of GKN1 and GKN2. However, this is the first known study to link these low protein levels with outcomes following stomach cancer surgery. Researchers say this discovery could eventually help physicians better determine and individualize therapy for stomach cancer, including which patients should be offered chemotherapy and other treatments in addition to surgery.

"Unfortunately, stomach cancer is difficult to cure unless it's discovered early, but because the early stage of the disease has very few symptoms, the cancer is usually advanced by the time it's diagnosed," says lead author Steven Moss, MD, a gastroenterologist with Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

"That's what makes our findings so significant, because if the potential markers identified in our study can help predict a patient's prognosis, we can decide right away which course of action to take and hopefully help patients live longer and more comfortably," he adds.

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 760,000 cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year. Microscopically, stomach cancers can be subdivided into those which appear "diffuse" (a more aggressive form of cancer that can occur throughout the stomac
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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