Medicine

Profiles in Cancer Diagnosis

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Science  11 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5455, pp. 933
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5455.933e

Current methods of cancer diagnosis may not reveal distinct subtypes of disease that have disparate clinical outcomes. Molecular oncologists have speculated that by comparing the gene expression profiles of tumors in the same diagnostic category, it might be possible to detect and classify these subtypes in a clinically meaningful way. Work by Alizadeh et al. illustrates the power of this new diagnostic strategy and the utility of DNA micro-array technology in cancer (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/CGAP/). In a study of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), these authors identified two disease subtypes that differed in their response to chemotherapy. Patients with DLBCL whose gene expression profile resembled that of germinal center B cells had a markedly better response than did those with a profile typical of activated B cells. These results bring the notion of “tailored” cancer therapy—treatment optimized for individual patients—a step closer to reality.—PAK

Nature403, 503 (2000).

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