Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prognosis for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.

A recently completed joint study by Rosetta Genomics Ltd. and New York University Langone Medical Center has shown promising results in prognosis for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.

The study indicated significant potential for a single microRNA to act as an independent prognostic factor for mesothelioma progression as well as survival in patients who have undergone surgery to combat the cancer.

MicroRNAs act as master regulators of protein synthesis and have been shown to be highly effective biomarkers in some cases. Rosetta Genomics and NYU Langone Medical Center tested for the presence of miR-29c in malignant mesothelioma tumors and found that varying expression levels had a direct correlation with prognosis and overall survival in patients.

The study evaluated 142 malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors for microRNA expression levels and results showed that higher levels of miR-29c dramatically improved prognosis in terms of both progression and survival.

When higher levels of miR-29c were present, the median Time to Progression (TTP) of the tumors after surgery changed from four months to 14 months during the training set. In the test set, the median TTP of tumors increased from 5.5 months to 12.8 months.

The median survival results changed from eight to 32 months for the training set and 9.1 to 21.6 months for the test set. Researchers conducting the study believe this new diagnostic capability may aid physicians in carrying out aggressive treatment options for patients with poor prognosis.

Dr. Harvey Pass, who is the lead investigator of the study, said, “This is an exciting discovery which may have significant clinical impact on the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). While MPM is an aggressive cancer, our study showed that we can use a single microRNA to identify subgroups of patients who differ significantly in their time to progression and survival. When applied to a clinical setting, these findings may enable clinicians to apply multimodality therapy to the most appropriate patients. Furthermore, I think it is remarkable that a single biomarker can provide such insights into disease prognosis.”

The conclusion of the study found that the over-expression of miR-29c in mesothelioma cells decreased proliferation, migration, invasion and colony formation.

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