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Proteins may help identify patients who will respond better to treatments in certain cancers

Scientists today presented studies of proteomic and genomic markers that could help oncologists devise better treatment approaches for specific patients, and may improve clinical outcomes. The studies were presented here today at the International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics organized by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

Molecular marker expression phenotype is an independent prognostic factor for outcome in the chart head and neck cancer randomized trial: Abstract 733

A clinical study of head and neck cancer patients found that molecular markers -- the proteins that distinguish specific tumors -- allowed doctors to identify patients who would respond better to radiotherapy than others. Investigators looked at molecular marker expression profiles in 402 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The study focused on biological factors such as vascular density and the expression of proteins involved in the regulation of cell cycle progression, proliferation, or apoptosis (programmed cell death), which are known to affect the way that a tumor responds to radiotherapy.

"We are using new strategies for data analysis to exploit the potential of molecular markers," said Francesca Buffa, PhD, of the Gray Cancer Institute in London. "We hope that by tailoring cancer therapy to the biological behavior of an individual patient's tumor, we will be able to improve the success of radiotherapy and provide increased clinical benefits to the patients," she added.

Eight distinct groups of tumors, each with similar biological profiles, were identified within the patient group. Drs. Buffa, Soren Bentzen and their colleagues looked at whether it was possible to predict the outcome of radiotherapy based on these molecular profiles, when compared to more traditional characteristics such as t
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Contact: Warren Froelich
froelich@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
19-Nov-2003


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