Genes help personalize stomach cancer treatments

There is a growing recognition that no two cancers are alike. That is why "personalized medicine" is more than just a trendy phrase to researchers who are working on treatments that go beyond "one size fits all" therapeutics. The latest step toward personalized cancer treatments was taken by researchers in Singapore who have found a better way to classify different types of stomach cancers, according to an article in Cancer Research UK.

Currently, stomach cancer is classified into two main groups, known as the Lauren classification, depending on how tumor cells are arranged: intestinal or diffuse. What a team of researchers at Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School did was look at the genomes of stomach cancer cells to see if there is more to the story than just these two classifications. Their genetic analysis actually broke the tumors into groups that responded better to chemotherapy drugs 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin in one case and cisplatin in another group.

"Our study is the first to show that a proposed molecular classification of gastric cancer can identify genomic subtypes that respond differently to therapies, which is crucial in efforts to customize treatments for patients," said Patrick Tan, senior author of the study that appeared in the journal Gastroenterology.

- read the report in Cancer Research UK
- and the abstract in Gastroenterology