Finally, another team of researchers found that variations in DNA "mismatch repair" genes (those that correct DNA errors) might predict how pancreatic patients respond to different therapies.
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult treat, with five-year survival rates hovering at only 5 percent. But some patients do better than others and the critical question is "why?"
"How to identify those patients remains a clinical challenge," said study author Donghui Li, professor of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
"A number of genotypes remain significant predictors of tumor response to therapy, tumor respectability [whether surgery is an option] and overall survival," Li said. One genotype predicted a 94 percent response rate to preoperative chemoradiation, compared to 73 percent in patients without the genotype, the study found.
Median survival for those with a "good" genotype was 25.5 months, vs. 7.4 months for those with a "bad" genotype, according to the researchers.
The symposium is sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on GI cancers.
SOURCES: Jan. 13, 2009 teleconference with Je
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