Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida have identified four inherited genetic variants in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients that can help predict survival and treatment response. The findings could help lead to more personalized treatment options and improved outcomes for patients. The researchers analyzed DNA sequence variations in 651 NSCLC patients, paying close attention to 53 inflammation-related genes. They found that four of the top 15 variants associated with survival were located on one specific gene (TNFRSF10B). In the study, these variants increased the risk of death as much as 41 percent. The researchers also found that patients with these gene variations had a greater risk of death if their treatment plans included surgery without chemotherapy compared to patients who were treated with chemotherapy following surgery. “There are few validated biomarkers that can predict survival or treatment response for patients with NSCLC,” said study lead author Matthew B. Schabath, Ph.D., assistant member of the Cancer Epidemiology Program at Moffitt. “Having a validated genetic biomarker based on inherited differences in our genes may allow physicians to determine the best treatments for an individual patient based on (his or her) unique genetics.” Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women. Additionally, NSCLC represents more than 80 percent of lung cancer diagnoses. “NSCLC has an extremely poor five-year survival rate. Only about 16 percent of all patients survive for five years and tragically, only about four percent of patients with late-stage disease live longer than five years,” explained Dr. Schabath. “Part of the difficulty in treating lung cancer is the genetic diversity of patients and their tumors.
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