Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme found to be a predictive marker of survival in head and neck cancer

Date:
April 22, 2010
Source:
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Summary:
New research suggests that levels of ERCC1 -- an enzyme that helps repair cisplatin-related DNA damage -- offer a predictive marker of survival in squamous carcinoma of the head and neck. The findings might eventually help guide treatment selection for patients with recurrent and metastatic disease.

Most treatment for advanced head and neck cancer requires chemotherapy with a drug called cisplatin, an inorganic platinum agent that inhibits cell growth. A substantial number of patients do not respond well to this therapy, but oncologists are unable to prescribe alternative agents because they don't know which patients will respond to platinum therapy and which won't. However, new research from Fox Chase Cancer Center suggests that levels of ERCC1––an enzyme that helps repair cisplatin-related DNA damage––offer a predictive marker of survival in squamous carcinoma of the head and neck. The findings might eventually help guide treatment selection for patients with recurrent and metastatic disease.

Ranee Mehra, M.D., a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center and principal investigator on the study, presented her findings at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"This retrospective analysis of tumor tissue looked at levels of ERCC1 in patients who did and did not respond to adjuvant therapy, which includes radiotherapy with or without platinum therapy," says Mehra. "The results open avenues to testing other agents that could be more effective in specific patients and have a better side-effects profile."

Mehra and her colleagues created tissue microarrays from cancer tumors of the head and neck taken from 109 patients treated at Fox Chase. Based on tissue from 76 patients who received adjuvant radiation or platinum-based chemoradiation, researchers found that low ERCC1 levels were associated with increased survival from the adjuvant therapy. In the 33 patients treated with surgery alone, there was no association with ERCC1 status and survival.

"This is definitely a step toward personalized medicine," says Mehra. "When we saw there was a survival difference in patients who received the treatment based on this biomarker, we were very excited. These findings provide support for the concept that personalized medicine could be possible in a practical way in these cancers."

According to Mehra, the retrospective analysis of tissue from 109 patients with squamous carcinoma of the head and neck could not have been conducted without Fox Chase's extensive tissue bio-repository. "To have enough samples with annotated clinical data to do this kind of study is not something every center has," she says.

Funding for the research was provided by Fox Chase's Keystone Program in Head and Neck Cancer, directed by Barbara Burtness, M.D.; Drew Ridge, M.D., Ph.D.; and Erica Golemis, Ph.D. The Fox Chase Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery, launched in February 2008, are a suite of innovative team-based cancer research initiatives organized by a group of scientists, clinicians, and other research professionals seeking to integrate and focus their joined expertise on a significant question in cancer.

"As an investigator, I see a great opportunity in these results," says Mehra. "While the data are retrospective and preliminary, our goal now will be to validate this assay, reproduce the results with tumors from a different source, and design a prospective study to test a patient's tumor and treat accordingly based on ERCC1 level."

The research efforts of the members of the Keystone Program in Head and Neck Cancer seek to maximize understanding and override the sources of resistance to therapy. Many of the physicians and scientists in this program work on specific proteins identified as highly relevant to head and neck cancer. While surgery is an effective means for treating some head and neck cancers, it is fraught with drawbacks and often not an option for late-stage patients, who require radiation coupled with drugs and other systemically-acting agents. Fox Chase's Keystone Program is focused on reducing the overall incidence of head and neck cancers and devising treatment strategies based on specific molecular targets such as ERCC1.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Enzyme found to be a predictive marker of survival in head and neck cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419150819.htm>.
Fox Chase Cancer Center. (2010, April 22). Enzyme found to be a predictive marker of survival in head and neck cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419150819.htm
Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Enzyme found to be a predictive marker of survival in head and neck cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419150819.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins