Genetic signatures of gastric cancer cell lines reveal disease subtypes

April 30, 2015, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Genetic signatures of gastric cancer cell lines reveal disease subtypes
Gastric cancer cell lines have different signatures of DNA damage, but can be divided into two classes that respond differently to treatment. Credit: circotasu/iStock/Thinkstock

Distinct subtypes of gastric cancer respond differently to drug treatments according to a study by A*STAR researchers. The finding could help optimize treatment for individuals with gastric cancer and improve their prognosis.

Relatively little research has focused on gastric cancer, a disease that is prevalent across Asia. In Singapore, for instance, gastric cancer is the third most common cancer among men and the fifth most common among women. Diagnosis is usually made at late stages of the disease, by which time treatment is often ineffective. A greater understanding of the disease is essential to reduce its impact.

May Ann Lee from the A*STAR Experimental Therapeutics Centre and colleagues have provided insight into the disease by studying the genetics of cultured gastric cancer cell lines derived from patients. Many different cell lines exist, each responding differently to treatments; the research team studied 18 different cell lines to find out why.

"We mapped the chromosomes of the cells to look for gain or loss of chromosomal material," explains Lee. "From this, we could see how the cell lines differ from each other. The amount of genetic data we produced was large, and we needed bioinformatics specialists to find differences that enabled us to group the data meaningfully."

The genetic signatures of the cell lines included between 1,724 and 22,631 defects. Many of the defects were in genes that are involved in the promotion or suppression of cancer. While each cell line's genetic signature was unique, the researchers identified that they could be grouped into one of two clusters: those with defects that affect the activity of the energy-producing components of cells known as mitochondria, and those with defects that affect cell signaling.

The team also tested the effectiveness of potential cancer drugs in suppressing the growth of the cancer cell lines. They found that the two clusters of cell lines exhibited different sensitivities to the drugs: sensitivity varied by as much as ten-fold. This means that identifying the of tumor cells in individual patients with gastric cancer could enable selection of the most effective treatment.

"We have shown that different subtypes of respond to different pathway-specific chemotherapy," explains Lee. "Our findings will contribute to personalized treatment for patients in the future."

"Next, we will test these for sensitivity to drug candidates discovered at the A*STAR Experimental Therapeutics Center. We hope to discover more drugs that can target specific cancer subtypes and provide more options for treatment."

Explore further: FACC-29 gathers authenticated canine cancer cell lines for research and drug development

More information: "Molecular integrative clustering of Asian gastric cell lines revealed two distinct chemosensitivity clusters." PLoS ONE 9, e111146. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111146

Related Stories

FACC-29 gathers authenticated canine cancer cell lines for research and drug development

April 22, 2015
Much of what we know about cancer and many modern medicines that treat it grow from experiments on cancer cells. However, it is notoriously difficult to maintain the integrity of cell lines - due to contamination or simple ...

Scientists identify cancer specific cell for potential targeted treatment of gastric cancer

April 23, 2014
New research by the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and National University Hospital Singapore suggests that a variant of a cell surface protein is an ideal target for developing drugs to treat gastric cancer

Study reveals possible new avenues for breast cancer therapy

April 16, 2015
An exhaustive analysis has been conducted of more than 12,000 distinct proteins present in an often aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer, called triple-negative breast cancer.

Role of innervation explored in gastric tumorigenesis

August 21, 2014
(HealthDay)—Vagal innervation is involved in gastric tumorigenesis, according to an experimental study published in the Aug. 20 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Research probes new targets for cancer treatment

April 10, 2015
New research at the University of Aberdeen has identified potential new targets for the treatment of certain types of cancer.

Driver of non-small cell lung cancer, FGFR1, also in 23 percent of small cell lung cancer

April 20, 2015
Significant new treatments are available or in clinical trials for non-small cell lung cancer. The same explosion in treatment options is not true for the disease's cousin, small cell lung cancer, the less common and more ...

Recommended for you

Pushing closer to a new cancer-fighting strategy

December 11, 2018
A molecular pathway that's frequently mutated in many different forms of cancer becomes active when cells push parts of their membranes outward into bulging protrusions, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study. The ...

Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric AML

December 11, 2018
Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia, one of the major causes of death in children.

HER2 mutations can cause treatment resistance in metastatic ER-positive breast cancer

December 11, 2018
Metastatic breast cancers treated with hormone therapy can become treatment-resistant when they acquire mutations in the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) that were not present in the original tumor, reports ...

Breast cancer drug could create chink in the armour of pancreatic cancer

December 11, 2018
The well-known drug tamoxifen could exploit a weakness in the physical 'scaffolds' around tumours, according to research led by Imperial.

Taking uncertainty out of cancer prognosis

December 11, 2018
A cancer diagnosis tells you that you have cancer, but how that cancer will progress is a terrifying uncertainty for most patients. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have now identified a specific class ...

Loss of two genes drives a deadly form of colorectal cancer, reveals a potential treatment

December 11, 2018
Colorectal cancers arise from earlier growths, called polyps, found on the inner surface of the colon. Scientists are now learning that polyps use two distinct molecular pathways as they progress to cancer, called the "conventional" ...

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.