Genes predict cancer chemo response

Cancer chemotherapy can be unpleasant, with side effects that range from annoying to seriously affecting quality of life, and there isn't always a guarantee that after all of this, the cancer will respond to the treatment, or won't recur after time. For some people, the clue to their response is in their genes, and researchers have found genetic profiles that could predict response in breast cancer chemotherapy. Researchers from Canada looked at 488 breast cancer patients treated with adriamycin and Taxotere or Taxol, a common drug combination in this type of cancer, and found that the expression signatures for the genes behind either the enzyme TOP2A, or the chemotherapy target β-tubulin, could be used to predict whether patients would respond completely to the treatment. Combining the two signatures was even more accurate. Professor John Hassell of McMaster University commented: "Identifying patients who will not benefit from a specific treatment means that they can be moved to a different treatment plan, and the earlier appropriate treatment is started the more likely it is that the patients will benefit from it." Press release | Abstract

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