MicroRNA holds clues to predicting progression-free myeloma survival

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Progression-free survival is one of the key endpoints in any cancer drug study. Now a group of scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they may have a lead on a pair of biomarkers that could help predict the likelihood of extending PFS in multiple myeloma patients. And their work may help guide the development of future treatments.

The scientists zeroed in on exosomes, which are released into the bloodstream in a cell-to-cell communication system. The investigators--who reported their work at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology--went looking for gene-controlling microRNAs found in the exosomes of 112 multiple myeloma patients enrolled in a French drug trial. And by comparing microRNAs in healthy and sick patients they found some sharp differences that could offer a clue to the risks faced by a patient.

Two of those exosomes, let-7e and 106b/25, were found only in low quantities among patients whose PFS rates were considerably shorter than those of others. And those signposts could be used as a prognostic tool as well as a guide to identify patients with the best shot at responding to a drug.

"Our results indicate that blood levels of these two microRNAs can help predict progression-free survival--the average amount of time before the disease advances--in myeloma patients who have yet to be treated," said the study's lead author, Dr. Salomon Manier of Dana-Farber.

- here's the release

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