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

e gene had a longer time-to-recurrence than individuals carrying the more typical form of the gene. Moreover, only 16 percent of patients with the N453S variant had a recurrence, compared to 33 percent of patients with the normal version of the gene. By contrast, the other CYP1B1 gene variants known as R48G or L432V did not have any impact on time-to-recurrence.

In addition, the research team found that women with the normal form of CYP1B1 had a shorter time-to-recurrence than men with the same gene variant. This finding is consistent with CYP1B1's known ability to metabolize estrogens, the primary sex hormones in females, to carcinogenic derivatives.

"The genetic makeup of a person could have an impact on how detrimental exposure to tobacco smoke or estrogen might be, and on the time course of their cancer recurrence," says Clapper, who is co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase. "This is really an exciting finding because it suggests that the CYP1B1 protein may be a target for intervention in head and neck cancer."

The researchers also tested, at the cellular level, how variants of CYP1B1 may affect time-to-recurrence and found that cells with high levels of the N453S variant proliferated five to eight times slower than did cells with the normal form of the protein.

The results could have important implications for the treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Clinicians could use information about variations in the CYP1B1 gene to identify individuals who are at risk for faster recurrence. That subset of patients could receive "a treatment regimen that is tailored to be more aggressive," Clapper says. "Using a personalized medicine approach, we could impact the duration of the disease-free interval for these individuals if we knew ahead of time which ones were more likely to experience recurrence at a faster rate."

Moving forward, Shatalova and her colleagues
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-815-7828
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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