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[ Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Malignancy Gene Signature Found ]

Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Malignancy Gene Signature Found

According to an investigation published in the recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida have discovered that a malignancy-risk gene signature created for breast cancer has predictive and prognostic value for individuals suffering with early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
NSCLC is responsible for 80% to 90% of all lung cancers, according to corresponding author Dung-Tsa Chen, Ph.D., associate member with the Moffitt Biostatistics program. Individuals with non-small cell lung cancer have a 30% to 50% chance of relapsing after surgery and a 40% to 70% five-year survival rate. Even though adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT), standard treatment of NSCLC, has increased survival rates, some patients do not gain any benefit from the treatment.
Chen explains:
"Better prognostic tools have been needed to identify both patients with a high probability of relapse and those who would benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy."
The investigators at Moffitt are certain that their malignancy-risk gene signature for NSCLC will provide that tool as it is a proliferative gene signature linked to both cancer risk and progression.
The team believe their discoveries suggest a "transferability" of the malignancy-risk gene signature between breast cancer and NSCLC, a "unique feature not seen in other gene signatures derived for various tumor types."
Chen said:
"To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to show a high consistency of the gene signature on both breast cancer and NSCLC. The gene signature demonstrated a statistically significant association with overall survival and other clinical predictors in NSCLC."

The researchers primarily designed the malignancy-risk signature gene in order to distinguish between normal breast tissues and breast cancer tissues by detecting abnormal molecular structure. The signature was then applied to tissue samples from 442 patients with NSCLC in the Director's Challenge Consortium for the Molecular Classification of Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Chen explained:
"Additionally, the malignancy-risk gene signature has demonstrated the potential to identify early-stage NSCLC patients who would be likely to benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. This malignancy-risk gene signature may provide an additional tool to help identify a subset of patients at high-risk for low overall survival and who may benefit from ACT."

According to results from the investigation the malignancy-risk gene signature has the ability to predict overall survival in individuals with NSCLC. In addition, the team discovered that the signature was able to consistently distinguish between low and high malignancy groups as well as correlate the groups by poor or good overall survival rates.
The team plan on conducting a similar but large study in the future by using patient donated tissue samples from Moffitt's Total Cancer Care program, a collabouration between researchers, doctors and patients to enhance all aspects of cancer care and prevention.
Written by Grace Rattue
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