-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Stomach cancer tumors have
genetic differences, which determine how they respond to treatment,
researchers have found.
In identifying two distinct versions of the disease, scientists
found that a certain regimen of chemotherapy is more effective on
one tumor type, while another drug works best on the other. The
study authors said their findings would help doctors more
effectively treat gastric cancer patients.
"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," study senior author Dr. Patrick Tan, associate professor in the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program at the Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical School, said in a university news release.
A microscopic pathology test developed in the 1960s, known as
the Lauren classification, is a general description (either
intestinal or diffuse) of how well the tumor cells clump together.
The Singapore-based team at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School,
however, was able to distinguish gastric cancer tumors where the
Lauren test could not.
"There is a general assumption in the field that intestinal and diffuse gastric cancers [as classified by Lauren] represent two very different versions of gastric cancer, and now genomic data confirms this by demonstrating that the two genomic subtypes have very different molecular patterns," said Tan.
In profiling 37 stomach cancer cell lines, the researchers found
two distinct patterns. Moreover, in accurately defining these tumor
subtypes, they were also able to observe differences in how well
each responded to chemotherapy.
"The exact mechanistic reasons for this difference are currently unclear, and this is an area that we are actively working on," noted Tan, adding that the researchers are working to find more specific vulnerabilities to drugs.
The researchers said they plan further research in which gastric
cancer tumors will be genetically profiled to determine the most
The study findings were published in the Aug. 1 edition of
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