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Cancer-causing gene could help predict treatment effectiveness

by • February 17, 2016 • No Comments

Head and neck cancer is already the sixth many common cancer on the planet, but up until now no biomarkers have been discovered to predict the response of tumors to treatment. A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, hopes to alter that fact, appearing to the detection of the cancer-causing gene DEK in patient plasma.

The human DEK gene has, in the past, been confirmed to promote cancer, and it is actually discovered in high quantities in the tumor tissue of neck and head cancer patients, regardless of how far the cancer has progressed. In the knowledge that white blood cells secrete DEK protein, the researchers decided to appear for the gene in the plasma of cancer patients, hoping that it can be possible to use the resulting data to assess how the disease can respond to treatment.

Blood samples were collected of patients with newly diagnosed, untreated head and neck cancer, alongside control samples taken of healthy patients. Separating the plasma of the samples, the researchers administered an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, that uses antibodies and alters color to select substances.

The results showed that DEK was present in the plasma of both healthy patients and those diagnosed with cancer, but at decreased levels in those with the disease. The readings in addition announced a reverse correlation with IL-6 – a substance secreted by T cells, that are central to the immune process.

The researchers believe that the data may indeed be useful in predicting treatment result, with higher DEK levels in plasma most likely preducting advantageous immunotherapy results.

“This information can be significant to verify DEK plasma measurements as a clinically useful test and may donate insight to next personalized and targeted treatment strategies for head and neck cancer,” said study lead Trisha Wide-Draper.

The team is continuing its research, working to determine whether specific DEK levels can be utilized to accurately predict response to various types of various treatments.

The findings of the study can be presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona this week.

Source: University of Cincinnati

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