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

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

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.