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Late Mortality May Be Decreasing in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Related study shows that 34-metagene set predicts outcomes in rhabdomyosarcoma

TUESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Late mortality among five-year survivors of childhood cancer has dropped significantly in the past few decades, largely due to fewer deaths from recurrence or progression, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a related study in the same issue, researchers report that the expression of 34 genes predicts outcomes in patients with rhabdomyosarcoma.

In the first study, Gregory T. Armstrong, M.D., and colleagues from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., examined patterns of late mortality (less than five years from diagnosis) from 1974 to 2000 among 26,643 five-year survivors of childhood cancer. They found that late mortality fell from 7.1 percent in the earliest era to 3.9 percent in the most recent era, which was largely due to fewer deaths from recurrence or progression.

In the second study, Elai Davicioni, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined global gene expression in 120 samples of primary rhabdomyosarcoma. They found that a 34-metagene set based on the expression pattern of 34 genes was highly predictive of outcome, and correlated with a risk classification used by the Children's Oncology Group.

"These data support further evaluation of rhabdomyosarcoma metagenes to discriminate patients with good prognosis from those with poor prognosis, with the potential to direct risk-adapted therapy," Davicioni and colleagues conclude.

Two authors reported financial and consulting relationships with biotechnology companies.

Abstract - Armstrong
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Abstract - Davicioni
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