Researchers Use Genetic Information to Predict Lung Cancer Recurrence
A new study in the August 10, 2006 New England Journal of Medicine found that genetic information from lung tumors could predict the risk of recurrence more accurately than conventional use of clinical characteristics.
About the Study
This study included 198 people with NSCLC who were participating in three separate studies. The researchers used samples of the participants’ tumor tissue to analyze genetic information thought to be related to the risk of cancer recurrence. With the genetic information, they made a model designed to predict the risk of recurrence. They also gathered clinical characteristics of the patients, including cancer stage (tumor size or the presence of cancer cells in the lymph nodes), cancer cell type, age, sex, and smoking history.
In all three groups of study participants, the gene model was superior to any of the clinical characteristics in predicting cancer recurrence. The chances of the model accurately predicting a recurrence was 93%, 72%, and 79% in the three study groups, compared with only 64% using clinical characteristics. Among the participants with stage IA tumors, the survival rate at four years was approximately 70%; but the survival rate in those with stage IA tumors classified as high risk for recurrence by the gene model was less than 10%.
How Does This Affect You?
These findings suggest that genetic information may be more accurate than clinical characteristics in predicting cancer recurrence in people with NSCLC. The hope is that a gene model will enable doctors to better identify patients at high risk for recurrence from any type of cancer, and plan chemotherapy accordingly. This could potentially reduce the risk of recurrence in high risk patients with stage IA cancer, while sparing low risk patients the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
Using genetic information to predict recurrence risk in cancer patients is an exciting area of research. This study may represent the beginning of a new era in which doctors routinely use genetic information to plan treatment for cancer patients. The next step will be to follow stage IA lung cancers patients predicted to be at high risk for recurrence by a gene model. If treating them with surgery plus chemotherapy results in better outcomes than the current standard of surgery alone, the information gathered may lead to more personalized—and more effective—lung cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Non-small cell lung cancer (PDQ®): treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/treatment/non-small-cell-lung/patient/ . Accessed August 8, 2006.
Potti A, Mukherjee S, Peterson R, et al. A genomic strategy to refine prognosis in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer. N Engl J Med . 2006;355:570-580.
Last reviewed August 2006 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.