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New view of stomach cancer could hasten better therapies
Date:7/23/2014

d levels of PD-L1 and PD-L2, key regulators of the immune response, suggest that emerging immunotherapy agents be tested in these patients.

  • Tumors in which malfunctioning DNA repair mechanisms cause a high rate of mutations many of them leading to potential activation of cancer-related signaling proteins that can be targeted with novel precision drugs. About 20 percent of tumors fell into this subtype.

  • The largest category of tumors, making up about half of the cancer specimens, was termed "chromosomally unstable." These cancer cells contained a jumble of extra or missing pieces of genes and chromosomes. Bass said these tumors "have a striking number of genomic amplifications [extra copies] of key cancer-promoting genes" for which targeted therapies exist or are in development. This subtype of tumor is frequently found in the junction between the stomach and the esophagus a type of stomach cancer that has been dramatically increasing in the United States, he said.

  • The fourth group of tumors was termed "genomically stable" as they lacked the molecular features of the other three types. These tumors, making up 20 percent of the specimens were largely those of a specific class of gastric cancer called diffuse-type tumors.

    "These tumors are especially deadly because of their ability to metastasize rapidly and because we lack effective therapies," said Bass. The team identified a novel set of genomic alterations in a pathway called the RHOA signaling pathway in about 30 percent of these tumors. "This finding result opens up an entirely new line of research to allow us to investigate what underlies this deadly form of gastric cancer and to ultimately develop new therapies," said Bass.


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  • Contact: Anne Doerr
    anne_doerr@dfci.harvard.edu
    617-632-4090
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Source:Eurekalert  

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