Researchers validate molecular signature to predict radiation therapy benefit

August 16, 2012

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, working with colleagues in Sweden, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico, have validated a radiosensitivity molecular signature that can lead to better radiation therapy decisions for treating patients with breast cancer.

The results appeared in a recent issue of , a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study examined patients with who had been treated with radiation therapy and demonstrated that a radiosensitivity molecular signature (RSI) could predict clinical outcomes exclusively in patients treated with radiation therapy. The radiosensitivity molecular signature (RSI) used by the research team had previously been tested and validated for rectal, esophageal, and head and neck cancers. The technology, which identifies radiosensitivity and radioresistance, opens the door to biologically guided radiation therapy and offers the potential for better outcomes.

"Developing a radiosensitivity predictive assay has been a goal of radiation biology for decades," said Javier F. Torres-Roca, M.D., member of the Experimental Therapeutics program at Moffitt. "This effort supports the emphasis on personalized medicine, where the goal is to use molecular signatures to guide therapeutic decisions."

According to Torres-Roca, approximately 60 percent of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their treatment. Yet until now, no molecular diagnostic or biomarker of radiosensitivity had been developed to predict its benefit.

The radiosensitivity molecular signature was developed based on for 10 specific genes and a linear regression algorithm. RSI was developed in 48 cancer cell lines using a systems-biology strategy focused on identifying biomarkers for cellular radiosensitivity.

This study validated RSI's benefit when researchers found that radiosensitive had an improved five-year, relapse-free survival when compared to radioresistant patients.

"This study validated RSI in 503 patients in two independent data sets," Torres-Roca said. "We have validated RSI in five independent cohorts totaling 621 patients, so this latest validation study, to the best of our knowledge, makes this technology the most extensively validated molecular signature in radiation oncology."

The successful transition from applying the technology to cell lines to patient application also suggests that the biological basis of cellular radiosensitivity is conserved between cell lines and patients and also across epithelial tumors, Torres-Roca said.

"We propose that RSI is a predictive biomarker of therapeutic benefit for patients with breast cancer," Torres-Roca said. "This novel biomarker provides an opportunity to integrate individual tumor biology with clinical decision-making in radiation oncology."

Explore further: Radiation plus chemotherapy provides long-term positive results for head and neck cancer patients

Related Stories

Radiation plus chemotherapy provides long-term positive results for head and neck cancer patients

January 26, 2012
A select subgroup of advanced head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy plus the chemotherapy drug cisplatin had more positive outcomes than patients treated with radiation therapy alone and continued to ...

Researchers find malignancy-risk gene signature for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer

January 6, 2012
A malignancy-risk gene signature developed for breast cancer has been found to have predictive and prognostic value for patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer. The advancement was made by researchers at Moffitt ...

Recommended for you

Drug yields high response rates for lung cancer patients with harsh mutation

October 18, 2017
A targeted therapy resurrected by the Moon Shots Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has produced unprecedented response rates among patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that carries ...

Possible new immune therapy target in lung cancer

October 18, 2017
A study from Bern University Hospital in collaboration with the University of Bern shows that so-called perivascular-like cells from lung tumors behave abnormally. They not only inadequately support vascular structures, but ...

Many pelvic tumors in women may have common origin—fallopian tubes

October 17, 2017
Most—and possibly all—ovarian cancers start, not in ovaries, but instead in the fallopian tubes attached to them.

Researchers find novel mechanism of resistance to anti-cancer drugs

October 17, 2017
The targeted anti-cancer therapies cetuximab and panitumumab are mainstays of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, many patients have tumors ...

New bowel cancer drug target discovered

October 17, 2017
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered a new drug target for bowel cancer that is specific to tumour cells and therefore less toxic than conventional therapies.

Using artificial intelligence to improve early breast cancer detection

October 17, 2017
Every year 40,000 women die from breast cancer in the U.S. alone. When cancers are found early, they can often be cured. Mammograms are the best test available, but they're still imperfect and often result in false positive ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.