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Now,a new way to classify stomach cancers

Scientists have developed a new method to classify stomach cancers which they claim may pave for more effective treatments and better survival rates.

Written by Agencies | Washington |
October 12, 2009 11:41:45 am

Scientists have developed a new method to classify stomach cancers which they claim may pave for more effective treatments and better survival rates.

Stomach or gastric cancer is particularly prevalent in Asia and represents the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The disease is resistant to chemotherapy and newer biologic-based therapies have not proven very effective.

Now,an international team has come up with a new way to classify stomach cancers — in fact,it classifies gastric cancers by the signalling pathways the tumours use to grow and spread,as opposed to the more traditional approach.

The research,published in the ‘PLoS Genetics’ journal,are based upon clinical findings from patients in Singapore,Australia and the United Kingdom and represents the largest genomic analysis of gastric cancers to date.

“We identified three oncogenic pathways that were activated in over 70 per cent of the gastric tumours we examined. We also found that combinations of these pathways are significantly related to patient survival,” team leader Chia Huey Ooi of Duke National University of Singapore said.

According to the scientists,the new classification system offers physicians the opportunity to stratify patients according to their tumours’ pathway profiles and then apply the treatment designed to interrupt signals the pathways use.

“These findings may give us the first way to truly offer our gastric cancer patients personalised medicine,” said team member Patrick Tan.

In fact,in their research,the scientists obtained 301 gastric tumours from three independent patient groups.

They used computational methods to map the activation levels of 11 different cell signalling pathways already known to be active in the development of gastric cancer.

They found that three pathways – primary drivers of cell growth and death (NF-kappaB,Wnt/ß-catenin and proliferation/stem cell) were deregulated in most tumours. The scientists found that stratifying patients by single pathways did not predict outcomes,but stratifying them by combinations of pathways did.

“We feel that the ability to perform ‘high- throughput pathway profiling’ opens up a number of interesting possibilities. It suggests that pathway combinations,rather than single pathways alone,may play a more critical role in influencing tumour behaviour. We feel our findings that the NF-kappaB pathway may be especially important,because this pathway has been understudied in gastric cancer.

“Finally,our methods could certainly be used to study pathway profiles in other cancers,which could lead to new insight into tumour behaviour and outcomes,” Tan said.

📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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