Four-gene signature could predict cancer, study shows

11 October 2011

A four-gene signature could accurately predict which patients are at higher risk of contracting head and neck cancers, research suggests.

Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) is responsible for nearly a quarter of all head and neck cancers, one of the leading causes of cancer death.

Researchers at Ontario Cancer Institute at University Health Network Toronto found that the ability to predict OSCC recurrence could lead to a lower risk of deaths from such cancers.

Published in BioMed Central's open-access journal BMC Cancer, the study looked at previous research and conducted further analysis of gene structures to find the signature which could detect probabilities for head and neck cancers.

The research was led by led by Dr Suzanne Kamel-Reid and Dr Igor Jurisica.

One of the researchers commented: "Patients at higher risk of recurrence could potentially benefit from closer disease monitoring and/or adjuvant post-operative radiation treatment, even in the absence of other clinical and histopathological indicators."

Oral cancers include tongue and oropharyngeal types of the disease.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Kamel-Reid, S, et al., "A gene signature in histologically normal surgical margins is predictive of oral carcinoma recurrence", BMC Cancer, October 2011.

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