According to an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a five-gene signature has been identified that can help predict overall survival and recurrence-free survival among patients with non–small cell lung cancer.
Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. “Non–small cell” refers to the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated.
Even among patients diagnosed with the same stage, or extent of spread, of NSCLC, long-term results vary widely. Researchers continue to evaluate ways determine these different outcomes; such findings may help to individualized treatment approaches for patients.
Researchers from Taiwan recently conducted a clinical study in an attempt to identify an expression of genes that may be associated with outcomes of patients with NSCLC. This study included lung cancer specimens from 125 patients diagnosed with NSCLC who were able to have their cancer surgically removed. The researchers evaluated the level of gene expression of these patients along with their survival.
- The researchers identified levels of expression of five genes that significantly corresponded to survival among patients.
- With a median follow-up of 20 months, patients with a gene signature that was considered to be “high risk” had an overall survival of approximately 20 months, compared with 40 months for those with a gene signature that was considered to be “low risk”.
- Patients with the high-risk gene expression also had a significantly reduced recurrence-free survival than those with a low-risk gene expression profile.
The researchers concluded that these results add to a growing body of evidence indicating that the expression of genes will help guide individualized care for patients with various types of cancers. Although questions surrounding the role of genetics in cancer treatment remain, it is hoped that future trials will provide answers that will ultimately improve long-term survival for all cancer patients.
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Reference: Chen H-Y, Yu S-L, Chen C-H, et al. A Five-Gene Signature and Clinical Outcome in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer. New EnglandJournal of Medicine. 2007; 356:11-20.
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