Research published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that DNA repair genes may be a predictor of ovarian cancer survival.
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston used gene expression data from The Cancer Genome Atlas database to develop a molecular “score” by looking at genes involved in platinum-induced DNA damage repair pathways. Patients’ scored were divided into two groups, low and high, and the prognostic value of the score was assessed for overall survival and disease progression.
Patients with high scores (11-20) survived longer than patients with low scores. The score was predictive of overall survival, recurrence-free survival, and progression-free survival in patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. The hope is that this score could be a useful tool to determine whether advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients would benefit from first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
The authors of the study suggest that the next step is to test these findings in large clinical trials. However, the authors of an accompanying editorial disagree, saying that while the findings are useful, they have not yet been validated adequately enough to be tested in clinical trials.