Predictive Biomarkers Provide Momentum to Cancer Treatments




Advancements continue to be made in the use of biomarkers to predict the growth of cancerous cells.

Argonaute proteins were recently reported to be over-expressed in colon cancer relative to adjacent non-cancer tissue. Journal BMC Cancer revealed new research that the expression of EIF2C2-4 and PIWIL4 appears increased in advanced tumors with distant metastasis, indicating that it could possibly promote tumor development. In addition, EIF2C1 and PIWIL2 may also represent novel colon cancer markers with early diagnostic significance.

Meanwhile, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA has found that histone modifications can be used to predict prognosis and response to pancreatic cancer treatments in subsets of patients.

Researchers, who had previously shown that low cellular levels of particular histones could determine which prostate cancer patients were more likely to suffer a recurrence and which patients with lung and kidney cancers would experience poorer survival rates, concluded:

“Cellular levels of histone modifications define previously unrecognized subsets of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma with distinct epigenetic phenotypes and clinical outcomes and represent prognostic and predictive biomarkers that could inform clinical decisions including the use of fluorouracil chemotherapy.”

Analyzing the clinical effectiveness of biomarkers is high on the agenda as a way of moving this technique forward.

Felix Frueh, Vice President of Personalized Medicine at Medco Health Solutions Inc., believes that the prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT) may not always be adequate to assess the clinical utility and effectiveness of biomarkers.

“For this purpose, non-randomized case-control or cohort studies may produce better results that are more reflective of the real clinical environment,” stated Frueh in an article for Drug Discovery & Development Magazine.

“Moreover, these proven and established approaches sidestep some of the ethical and logistical concerns that may be associated with RCTs, while offering potential benefits of expediency and lower cost.”

Enhancing patient recruitment and streamlining clinical processes to speed time to market will be the focus at Pharma IQ’s Optimising Clinical Development in Oncology summit taking place in London from the 26th-28th April.