Washington: Scientists have developed a new method to classify stomach cancers which they claim may pave for more effective treatments and better survival rates. Stomach or gastric cancer is particularly prevalent inAsia and represents the second leading cause of cancer deathsworldwide. The disease is resistant to chemotherapy and newerbiologic-based therapies have not proven very effective.
"We identified three oncogenic pathways thatwere activated in over 70 percent of the gastric tumours weexamined. We also found that combinations of these pathwaysare significantly related to patient survival," team leaderChia Huey Ooi of Duke–National University of Singapore said. According to the scientists, the new classificationsystem offers physicians the opportunity to stratify patientsaccording to their tumours` pathway profiles and then applythe treatment designed to interrupt signals the pathways use. "These findings may give us the first way to trulyoffer our gastric cancer patients personalised medicine," saidteam member Patrick Tan.In fact, in their research, the scientists obtained301 gastric tumours from three independent patient groups.They used computational methods to map the activation levelsof 11 different cell signalling pathways already known to beactive in the development of gastric cancer. They found that three pathways -- primarydrivers of cell growth and death (NF-kappaB, Wnt/ß-catenin andproliferation/stem cell) were deregulated in most tumours. Thescientists found that stratifying patients by single pathwaysdid not predict outcomes, but stratifying them by combinationsof pathways did. "We feel that the ability to perform `high-throughput pathway profiling` opens up a number of interestingpossibilities. It suggests that pathway combinations, ratherthan single pathways alone, may play a more critical role ininfluencing tumour behaviour. We feel our findings that theNF-kappaB pathway may be especially important, because thispathway has been understudied in gastric cancer. "Finally, our methods could certainly be used to studypathway profiles in other cancers, which could lead to newinsight into tumour behaviour and outcomes," Tan said.Bureau Report
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