Scientists from Cancer Lineberga Center at the University of North Carolina have developed a model that predicts how patients are triple negative breast cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy. They presented their research on breast cancer in 2016, the Symposium.
Scientists have tried to identify a distinctive feature of gene expression in cancer cells, which could help them to determine which patients will respond to chemotherapy prior to treatment.
Triple-negative breast cancer is very aggressive type of cancer that does not have targeted therapies. Compared to other subtypes of the disease, patients with this disease have an increased response to treatment with cytotoxic drugs. But while the targeted drugs are used to attack the specific molecular features that contribute to the development of cancer, chemotherapy attacks all rapidly dividing cells.
Knowing how patients with triple negative breast cancer will respond to chemotherapy, doctors can determine the best course of treatment.
To develop the model prediction scientists analyzed gene expression in breast tumor samples obtained from 389 patients and treatment initiation. They also used data about how the therapy influenced the volunteers. The researchers divided the sample information on the training and test sets, as well as identify and analyze the distinctive features of gene expression in all samples.
This model was able to identify 68% of patients had a complete pathological response to treatment, and predict 64% of cases when participants observed residual disease after chemotherapy.
Researchers continue to work on a model to improve the prediction accuracy. They plan to include other features of cancer cells, molecular indicators, how the immune system responds to cancer, genetic mutations and the number of copies of each gene.