Moffitt researchers identify unique immune gene signature across thousands of patients' solid tumors

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have discovered a unique immune gene signature that can predict the presence of microscopic lymph node-like structures in metastatic melanoma. The presence of these immune structures, the researchers said, appears to be associated with better survival and may indicate the possibility of selecting patients for immunotherapy based solely on the immune-related makeup of their tumors as an approach to personalized medicine.

The study appears in Scientific Reports, a journal from Nature Publishing Group.

In this study, the researchers analyzed a 12-chemokine across nearly 15,000 distinct solid tumors of different types, including . Chemokines are powerful immune system molecules known to be important in lymph node formation and function during development. The 12- gene expression signature was found to remarkably predict the presence of microscopic lymph node-like structures within some melanomas and was also associated with better overall survival of these patients.

The researchers speculate that the lymph nodal structures they identified are active and playing an important positive role in a self-elicited (endogenous) anti- – initially locally and then systemically. They also anticipate that their findings in melanoma may extend to other solid tumors, such as those of colorectal, lung and ovarian origin.

"We believe this gene expression signature reveals information on a unique anti-tumor response mechanism within the microenvironment of certain patient solid tumors, which may be their Achilles' heel to make them unusually responsive to immunotherapy and possibly lead to improved patient survival," explained the study's senior author, James J. Mulé, Ph.D., associate center director of Translational Research at Moffitt.

More information: www.nature.com/srep/2012/12102… 65/pdf/srep00765.pdf

Related Stories

Researchers creating "designer lymph nodes"

Apr 29, 2012

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are in the first phase of creating "designer lymph nodes." Designer lymph nodes are built with specialized gene-modified cells that are injected into patients and produce a pre-planned ...

Researchers study childhood melanoma characteristics

Sep 07, 2012

Melanoma, newly diagnosed in more than 76,000 Americans in 2011, is the most common and dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma is rare in children, accounting for 1 to 4 percent of all melanoma cases and just 3 percent of ...

Recommended for you

Mysterious esophagus disease is autoimmune after all

40 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—Achalasia is a rare disease – it affects 1 in 100,000 people – characterized by a loss of nerve cells in the esophageal wall. While its cause remains unknown, a new study by a team of researchers at ...

Diagnostic criteria for Christianson Syndrome

Jul 21, 2014

Because the severe autism-like condition Christianson Syndrome was only first reported in 1999 and some symptoms take more than a decade to appear, families and doctors urgently need fundamental information ...

New technique maps life's effects on our DNA

Jul 20, 2014

Researchers at the BBSRC-funded Babraham Institute, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Single Cell Genomics Centre, have developed a powerful new single-cell technique to help investigate how the environment ...

User comments