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Moffitt researchers develop first genetic test to predict tumor sensitivity to radiation therapy

Jul 23, 15
Moffitt researchers develop first genetic test to predict tumor sensitivity to radiation therapy

Recent advances in the understanding of cancer have led to more personalized therapies, such as drugs that target particular proteins and tests that analyze gene expression patterns in tumors to predict a patient’s response to therapy. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have contributed to these advances by developing the first test that analyzes the sensitivity of tumors to radiation therapy. They discovered that colon cancer metastases have varying sensitivity to radiation therapy based on their anatomic location.

Researchers from Moffitt previously developed a radiation sensitivity index (RSI) that predicts how sensitive tumors are to radiation based on expression patterns of different genes. In a paper published July 15 in The International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, they used the RSI to determine the radiation sensitivity of 704 metastatic and 1362 primary colon tumors.

They discovered that metastatic colon tumors are more resistant to radiation than primary colon tumors. The researchers also report that radiation sensitivity may be dependent on the anatomic location of the tumor metastasis. This is one of the first research studies to highlight the importance of the location of the metastasis as well as the location of the original primary tumor, in predicting response to radiation therapy. The researchers confirmed some of these findings by analyzing how effective radiation therapy was in 29 colon cancer tumors that metastasized to either the liver or lung. Their findings validated that those patients who had metastatic disease in their lungs had a better response to radiation then patients who had metastatic disease in their liver, as predicted by RSI.

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