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Review Faults Usefulness of Gene Expression Signatures

For lung cancer, studies to date have too many flaws, researchers say

THURSDAY, March 18, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- A review of research on gene expression-based prognostic signatures in lung cancer contends that the signatures aren't ready for prime time.

U.S. National Cancer Institute researchers said there's little sign that any are ready to be used in medical practice and that the existing studies have major problems.

The researchers, from the institute's Biometric Research Branch, reviewed 16 studies from 2002 to 2009 that examined the use of gene expression-based prognostic signatures for non-small-cell lung cancer.

Many of the studies did not explain how they're beneficial, and none showed that gene expression signature is an improvement over known risk factors, according to the review, which also reported flaws in the studies' design, analysis and validation of data.

"We hope that future research in this important field will strive to move away from being another exercise in clinical correlation to one that truly makes an impact on widespread medical practice," the researchers wrote in their report, which was published online March 16 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has details on gene therapy and cancer treatment.

SOURCE: Oxford Journals, news release, March 16, 2010
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