Predicting Cancer Aggressiveness

Cancer progression and mortality predicted with Micro RNA analysis

(RxWiki News) Being told you have cancer is definitely a shock. But sometimes it's more shocking to find out that not all cancers are created equal.

Researchers studied tissue samples from tumors of cancer patients and found that the levels of a certain molecule in the cell predicted how aggressively the cancer would progress.

"Ask your oncologist about micro RNA analysis."

Geoffrey Childs, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, co-authored the study, which looked at levels of micro RNA in cancers of the head and neck in 123 patients. One in particular, miRNA-375, stood out in particular.

Patients with low levels of miRNA-375 in their cancers had a 13-fold increase risk of succumbing to the cancer and a nine-fold risk of metastasis when compared to other cancer patients.

“We hope that miRNA-375 will become part of a laboratory test to determine which patients have potentially lethal tumors and therefore should be treated aggressively following initial diagnosis," Childs commented.

The study was published January 9, 2012 in The American Journal of Pathology.

This study was supported in part by funds from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center and by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

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Review Date: 
January 30, 2012