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

Study identifies genetic change in autism-related gene

11 hours ago

A new study from Bradley Hospital has identified a genetic change in a recently identified autism-associated gene, which may provide further insight into the causes of autism. The study, now published online in the Journal of ...

NIH issues finalized policy on genomic data sharing

Aug 27, 2014

The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while ...

The genes behind the guardians of the airways

Aug 27, 2014

Dysfunctions in cilia, tiny hair-like structures that protrude from the surface of cells, are responsible for a number of human diseases. However the genes involved in making cilia have remained largely elusive. ...

Cancer leaves a common fingerprint on DNA

Aug 25, 2014

Regardless of their stage or type, cancers appear to share a telltale signature of widespread changes to the so-called epigenome, according to a team of researchers. In a study published online in Genome Me ...

User comments