Breast Cancer Survival Predictor

Scientists in Columbia University have developed a new model to predict breast cancer survival, they said that their work could lead to improved diagnosis and prognosis for all types of cancer.

In prior work, the specialists recognized certain gene signatures that are present in almost identical form in numerous cancer types. Utilizing that data, they created a model that indicated that these gene signatures, when properly combined, were strong indicators for breast cancer survival.

“These signatures manifest themselves in specific genes that are turned on together in the tissues of some patients in many different cancer types,” team leader Dimitris Anastassiou, a professor in electrical engineering and a member of the Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology, said in a university news release.

Anastassiou states that if the general cancer signatures are useful in breast cancer, why not in other types of cancer as well? The scientist are hopeful that these signatures can be used for improved diagnostic, prognostic, and eventually, therapeutic products, that applies to multiple cancers.

There are numerous biomarker items that look at particular genes in cancer biopsy samples to help specialists confirm if a specific medication will be suitable for a patient.

“Some of these genes are related to those in our signatures, so it’s worth finding out if replacing such genes with our precise ‘pan-cancer’ signatures will improve the accuracy of these products,” Anastassiou said.

The findings appear in the April 17 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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