l and/or tobacco use – as well as those with head- and neck-specific complaints who don’t have those risk factors, says Dr. Gourin. She notes that about 20 percent of head and neck cancer patients have no history of alcohol or tobacco use.
Advanced proteomics technology – which can be applied to many tumor types – enables protein expression to be plotted on graphs that illustrate peaks and valleys. ‘Sometimes the underexpression of a protein may be significant,’ Dr. Gourin says.
The unique patterns surfacing may one day provide more than screening. Study findings indicate the protein fingerprint also is highly successful at classifying specific types of head and neck cancer, correctly classifying 83 percent of oral cavity tumors and 88 percent of laryngeal tumors, as examples, researchers say.
Also, in a small subset of 12 patients, protein expression helped researchers correctly classify how cancers responded to treatment, indicating its effectiveness in long-term follow-up, Dr. Gourin says. ‘We could easily use this to follow patients for life and detect any recurrence early as well as improve our ability to detect a second primary tumor, which occurs in about 8 percent of people,’ she says.
Clinical availability of a screening test for head and neck cancer is still years away, says Dr. Bao-Ling Adam, MCG cancer researcher and study co-author. But the researchers are continuing to make progress, already collecting more patient data to ensure that the patterns they have identified in the blood are effective biomarkers for head and neck cancer. Dr. Gourin is considering opening the study to other medical centers to increase numbers possibly into the thousands.
They also want to know if protein expression patterns found in the blood are expressed by cancer cells themselves, says Dr. Adam, who has begun doing proteomics studies on the cancerous tissue of surgery patients to find out. ‘What we see in the blood could Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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