WVU researchers identify gene pattern to help predict lung cancer recurrence
According to the American Lung Association, only 16 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have a 5-year survival rate.  Researchers at West Virginia University have identified and patented a 35-gene signature to help predict lung cancer recurrence following the surgical removal of lung tumors.

“The gene-signature could lead to improved treatment options for patients prone to relapse,” principle researcher Lan Guo, Ph.D., said.  “It could help physicians determine which lung cancer patients should receive chemotherapy to prevent the tumor from reappearing.”

According to Guo, statistics indicate nearly half of the patients who undergo surgical removal of their tumors in the early stages of lung cancer will relapse within five years.  

The gene signature study was performed in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health.  The study utilized tissue sample data from nearly 200 lung cancer patients.  Investigators used a computer model to analyze specific gene patterns, enabling them to identify patterns in patients that suggest a predisposition to lung cancer recurrence.

Their article, “Constructing Molecular Classifiers for the Accurate Prognosis of Lung Adenocarcinoma,” outlines the research.   It was published in a 2006 edition of Clinical Cancer Research.  NIOSH nominated the article for the 2007 Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The annual award recognizes excellence in science achievement by CDC authors of outstanding scientific papers.

“Thanks to WVU researchers, we are closing in on the day when doctors can individualize patient treatment based on genetic make-up,” said Dan Flynn, Ph.D., MBRCC deputy director.

Guo is hopeful that a clinical trial to test the patented gene signature will develop at WVU.                                       

The findings are the result of research conducted at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Researchers contributing to the article also include: Yong Qian, Xianglin Shi and Vincent Castranova of NIOSH; and WVU graduates Yan Man and Liang Wei.                

For more information on the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/.         

 Lan Guo, Ph.D.

- WVU -

For more information:
Cassie Waugh, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
cw/ sls: 11-15-07

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