Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients

Date:
January 24, 2012
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Summary:
Researchers have found a biomarker in head and neck cancers that can predict whether a patient’s tumor will be life threatening. The biomarker is considered particularly promising because it can detect the level of risk immediately following diagnosis.

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, have found a biomarker in head and neck cancers that can predict whether a patient's tumor will be life threatening. The biomarker is considered particularly promising because it can detect the level of risk immediately following diagnosis. This discovery could become a component of a new test to guide how aggressively those with head and neck tumors should be treated.

The findings were published online January 9 in the American Journal of Pathology.

"Previous efforts to identify biomarkers for guiding treatment of head and neck cancer have not developed anything clinically useful for patients," said Geoffrey Childs, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Einstein and co-senior author of the paper.

Head and neck cancers, the sixth most common malignancy among men worldwide, most often affect the mouth, back of the throat and larynx (voice box). Smoking and alcohol use are major risk factors. Only half of patients are still alive more than five years after diagnosis -- a survival rate that hasn't changed in 40 years.

In their study, researchers took tissue samples from tumors and nearby healthy tissue of 123 head and neck cancer patients at Montefiore and measured levels of 736 members of a class of RNA molecules known as microRNAs. Certain members of this family of RNAs, which regulate protein abundance in cells, are abnormally expressed in head and neck cancers as well as every other malignant cell type yet examined. Of all the microRNAs measured, one in particular -- miR-375 -- stood out for being the most down-regulated (i.e., expressed at low levels) in head and neck tumors compared with its levels in adjacent normal tissue.

The researchers ranked these 123 patients according to how extreme the difference was between the miR-375 in their tumor and in adjacent normal tissue, with that difference expressed as the ratio "miR-375 level in patient's tumor tissue divided by miR-375 level in patient's normal tissue." All patients were then followed throughout the course of their illness.

MiR-375 proved to be a highly useful biomarker for predicting disease outcome. The patients for whom the difference between their tumor and normal-tissue miR-375 levels was most extreme (i.e., the one-fourth of patients with the lowest ratios) were nearly 13 times more likely to die or 9 times more likely to experience distant spread (metastasis) of their cancer compared to patients with higher miR-375 ratios.

"As as a result of our study," Dr. Childs noted, "we hope that miR-375 will become part of a laboratory test to determine which patients have potentially lethal tumors and therefore should be treated aggressively following initial diagnosis. Our entire head and neck cancer group is working to identify and refine additional biomarkers to create a useful clinical test or 'personalized genetic signature' to help individual patients get the best possible treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas Harris, Lizandra Jimenez, Nicole Kawachi, Jian-Bing Fan, Jing Chen, Tom Belbin, Andrew Ramnauth, Olivier Loudig, Christian E. Keller, Richard Smith, Michael B. Prystowsky, Nicolas F. Schlecht, Jeffrey E. Segall, Geoffrey Childs. Low-Level Expression of miR-375 Correlates with Poor Outcome and Metastasis While Altering the Invasive Properties of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas. The American Journal of Pathology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.12.004

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123114257.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. (2012, January 24). Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123114257.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123114257.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
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