Independently predicts survival; found to be superior to established clinical prognostic factors

-- Beth Gilbert

Monday, July 19, 2010 (Last Updated: 07/20/2010)

MONDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- A six-gene signature associated with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) can independently predict survival, according to a study published online July 13 in PLoS Medicine.

Jeran K. Stratford, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues compared the gene expression profiles of primary PDAC tumors from patients with localized disease to those with metastatic disease. The researchers identified a six-gene signature associated with metastatic disease and assessed the prognostic potential of this signature in a training set of 34 patients with localized, resected PDAC and chose a cut-point linked to outcome using X-tile.

In applying the selected cut-point to an independent sample of 67 patients with localized and resected PDAC, the researchers found that the six-gene signature independently predicted survival and was superior to previously established prognostic factors, including grade, tumor size, and nodal status (hazard ratio, 4.1). Patients defined as low risk by the six-gene signature had a one-year survival rate of 91 percent compared to 55 percent in the high-risk group.

"Our six-gene signature may be used to better stage PDAC patients and assist in the difficult treatment decisions of surgery and to select patients whose tumor biology may benefit most from neoadjuvant therapy. The use of this six-gene signature should be investigated in prospective patient cohorts, and if confirmed, in future PDAC clinical trials, its potential as a biomarker should be investigated. Genes in this signature, or the pathways that they fall into, may represent new therapeutic targets," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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