Researchers identify a gene that predicts recurrence in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck—which typically arises from thin, flat cells that line moist surfaces inside the mouth, nose and throat—is the sixth most common type of cancer worldwide, and it has a relatively low five-year survival rate and a high recurrence rate. Recently, the disease has become even more prevalent among adults 40 years of age or younger. These statistics underscore the need for a greater understanding of the molecular underpinnings of this form of cancer. Toward this goal, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have identified a gene that predicts disease recurrence in individuals with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
The new findings, which will be presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 on Monday, April 2, show that patients with one common variant of a gene which encodes the cytochrome P450 (CYP1B1) protein are likely to have a longer time-to-recurrence than those with the more typical form of the gene.
"This is the first study to look at the association between CYP1B1 variants and time-to-recurrence in head and neck cancer, and the findings could lead to personalized treatment strategies for patients with this type of cancer," says Fox Chase study author Ekaterina Shatalova, Ph.D., research associate in the lab of Margie L. Clapper, Ph.D., also senior investigator on the study.
Shatalova, Clapper and their colleagues focused on CYP1B1 because this enzyme is known to produce carcinogens by metabolizing tobacco smoke and alcohol—substances that increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. This protein is also abundant in tumor tissue from a wide range of organs, including the breast and lung.
The results could have important implications for the treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Clinicians could use information about variations in the CYP1B1 gene to identify individuals who are at risk for faster recurrence. That subset of patients could receive "a treatment regimen that is tailored to be more aggressive," Clapper says. "Using a personalized medicine approach, we could impact the duration of the disease-free interval for these individuals if we knew ahead of time which ones were more likely to experience recurrence at a faster rate."
To read the complete article: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-gene-recurrence-squamous-cell-carcinoma.html