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Marker may predict who responds to chemo

March 22, 2012 at 8:16 PM

BOSTON, March 22 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a marker of DNA damage could predict who will respond to platinum-based chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin or carboplatin.

Lead pathologist Dr. Andrea Richardson, an assistant professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and colleagues said those drugs are widely used for ovarian cancer but, as with most cancer drugs, it can be difficult to predict who will respond to the therapy.

A team of researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that this marker -- telomeric allelic imbalance or tAI -- could predict sensitivity to therapy in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

"We currently do not have any targeted therapies for patients with triple-negative breast cancer, so if these laboratory findings are confirmed and an assay is created to predict sensitivity to drugs that target defective DNA repair, it would be a major step forward," Richardson said in a statement.

DNA repair status is a predictor of sensitivity to therapy and thus prognosis. However, measurements of DNA repair status have been slow to arrive, Richardson said.

The findings are published in Cancer Discovery.

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