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Predicting Breast Cancer Radiation Response

August 20, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Gastrointestinal Imaging
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A molecular signature can tell which breast cancer patients are likely to respond well to radiation therapy, and which ones aren’t, according to a new study. It could help in optimizing treatment plans for individual patients.

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, worked with colleagues in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Puerto Rico to develop and test a radiosensitivity molecular signature based on expression of 10 genes. Javier F. Torres-Roca, MD, senior author of the study, said:

Developing a radiosensitivity predictive assay has been a goal of radiation biology for decades. This effort supports the emphasis on personalized medicine, where the goal is to use molecular signatures to guide therapeutic decisions.

Dr. Torres-Roca was quoted in a Moffitt news release. He is a member of Moffitt’s Experimental Therapeutics Program. The study was published online July 25 in Clinical Cancer Research.

The researchers tested the radiosensitivity molecular signature (RSI) on patients at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The research team had previously established its validity for predicting response to radiation therapy for rectal, esophageal, and head and neck cancers. The new research focused on breast cancer therapy.

The results: radiosensitive breast cancer patients, as determined by RSI, showed improved five-year, relapse-free survival at both hospitals compared to radioresistant patients. Said Dr. Torres-Roca:

The study validated RSI in 503 patients in two independent data sets. 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.

Moffitt has more than an academic interest in validating RSI. It licenses the technology to Cvergenx Inc., a cancer molecular diagnostics company that delivers personalized radiation therapy to cancer patients.

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A cholesterol test developed in India uses a decidedly low-tech imaging method: a digital photograph of the hand. Can that possibly work? Find out at our Facebook page.

Related seminar: New Horizons in Breast Imaging

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