January 5, 2009

Two Proteins Predict Cancer Survival

Two proteins play a strong role in determining the survival of ovarian cancer patients, new research shows.

The study, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows when a woman has low levels of two proteins called Dicer and Drosha, her survival is much shorter than that of a woman who has high levels. The same holds true for patients with lung and breast cancer.

"Very consistently, we found that low levels of Dicer in particular are predictive of poor outcomes," lead study author Anil Sood, M.D., a professor in the departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, was quoted as saying.

Results show women with high levels of both Dicer and Drosha had a median survival of 11 years, whereas women with low levels had a median survival of 2.66 years.
Experts say although the role of the two proteins in cancer survival isn't completely understood, it's likely when they are at low levels they permit some genes to continue working when they should be at rest.

The knowledge may lead to the use of Dicer and Drosha as indicators of prognosis and new methods to attack tumors.

SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, 2008;359:2641-2650


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