A new gene expression test can identify which patients are likely to suffer more aggressive forms of the childhood cancer rhabdomyosarcoma, new research reports. Examining the activity of only five genes in a sample of the tumor was enough to identify high-risk children who might benefit from more intensive treatment or from new therapies in clinical trials. The findings, published in the October 15, 2015 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, could open up the opportunity for doctors to prescribe personalised treatment for children with cancer depending on the gene activity of their tumors. The article is titled “Clinical Application of Prognostic Gene Expression Signature in Fusion Gene–Negative Rhabdomyosarcoma: A Report from the Children's Oncology Group.” The five-gene signature test for rhabdomyosarcoma, known as MG5, was developed by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. It has now been validated in tests of samples from 68 patients led by scientists from the Children's Oncology Group in the US, in collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The work was supported in the UK by the Chris Lucas Trust and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and the ICR, and also received funding from the US National Cancer Institute and Fondation Medic. The test for gene activity, specificall gene expression, is the first to be able to accurately predict which children with a type of rhabdomyosarcoma called “fusion-negative” will have more aggressive forms of the disease.
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