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Researchers identify a gene that predicts recurrence in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck
Date:4/2/2012

CHICAGO, IL (April 2, 2012)Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neckwhich typically arises from thin, flat cells that line moist surfaces inside the mouth, nose and throatis the sixth most common type of cancer worldwide, and it has a relatively low five-year survival rate and a high recurrence rate. Recently, the disease has become even more prevalent among adults 40 years of age or younger. These statistics underscore the need for a greater understanding of the molecular underpinnings of this form of cancer. Toward this goal, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have identified a gene that predicts disease recurrence in individuals with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

The new findings, which will be presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 on Monday, April 2, show that patients with one common variant of a gene which encodes the cytochrome P450 (CYP1B1) protein are likely to have a longer time-to-recurrence than those with the more typical form of the gene.

"This is the first study to look at the association between CYP1B1 variants and time-to-recurrence in head and neck cancer, and the findings could lead to personalized treatment strategies for patients with this type of cancer," says Fox Chase study author Ekaterina Shatalova, Ph.D., research associate in the lab of Margie L. Clapper, Ph.D., also senior investigator on the study.

Shatalova, Clapper and their colleagues focused on CYP1B1 because this enzyme is known to produce carcinogens by metabolizing tobacco smoke and alcoholsubstances that increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. This protein is also abundant in tumor tissue from a wide range of organs, including the breast and lung.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the CYP1B1 gene using DNA samples from 155 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck diagnosed at Fox Chase between 2001 and 2008. They found that carriers of the N453S variant of th
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-815-7828
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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