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THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Changes to the way cancers are classified could lead to more accurate diagnoses and perhaps more effective treatments in about one in 10 cancer patients, new research suggests.
Typically, cancers are categorized according to the tissue in which they originated, such as breast, bladder or kidney cancer. But tissues are composed of different types of cells.
In this study, researchers who analyzed more than 3,500 tumor samples of 12 different cancer types concluded that defining tumors by their cellular and molecular features, rather than by the tissues in which they originated, would improve diagnoses in about 10 percent of cancer cases.
"This genomic study not only challenges our existing system of classifying cancers based on tissue type, but also provides a massive new data resource for further exploration, as well as a comprehensive list of the molecular features distinguishing each of the newly described cancer classes," study co-senior author Dr. Christopher Benz, professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.
The study, published online Aug. 7 in the journal Cell, is part of The Cancer Genome Atlas initiative, which is led by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute.
The researchers report particularly significant findings in bladder and breast cancers. They identified at least three different subtypes of bladder cancer, including one that was nearly identical to a form of non-small cell lung cancer called lung adenocarcinoma, and another most similar to squamous-cell cancers of the head and neck and of the lungs.
The findings may explain why bladder cancer patients "often respond very differently when treated with the same systemic therapy for their seemingly identical cancer type," Benz said.
The researchers confirmed known differences between two forms of breast cancers called basal-like and luminal. But they also discovered that these differences are significant and that basal-like breast cancers -- commonly referred to as triple-negative -- are a distinct class of tumor.
"What's amazing is that basal breast cancer is as different from luminal breast cancer as it is from, say, kidney cancer," study co-lead author Denise Wolf, a research scientist based in UCSF's Department of Laboratory Medicine, said in the news release.
Basal-like cancers are highly aggressive and more common among black and younger women.
"Even though these basal-like cancers arise in the breast, on the molecular level they have more in common with ovarian cancers and cancers of squamous-cell origin than with other subtypes of breast cancer," explained study co-lead author Christina Yau, a staff scientist at the Buck Institute and assistant professor of surgery at UCSF.
"This is the first time ever you've been able to point to important molecular features shared by basal breast cancer, and by squamous head-and-neck cancer and lung cancer," Wolf said.
"And the same is true of immune activation -- we found that different cancer types have very similar immune signatures, a factor that may be relevant clinically with the rise of new immune therapies," she added.
Further research could reveal that as many as 30 to 50 percent of cancers need to be reclassified, according to Benz.
"Although follow-up studies are needed to validate and refine this newly proposed cancer classification system, it will ultimately provide the biologic foundation for that era of personalized cancer treatment that patients and clinicians eagerly await," Benz believes.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about cancer.
SOURCE: University of California, San Fransciso, news release, Aug. 7, 2014
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Thu Aug 14, 2014 08:48 AM
New cancer classification system may revolutionize diagnoses and treatments. Cancers may be classified by their primary site of origin or by their histological or tissue types or even by their genetic and molecular types. Human cancer classification is currently based on the idea of cell of origin, light and electron microscopic attributes of the cancer. Recent innovative techniques in biology have provided a wealth of information on iron-metabolism-changes in cancerous cells. Future cancer treatment may be advanced by using an iron model of cancer classification. Cancer encompasses a class of heterogeneous diseases that differ on a cellular and molecular level - even within subtype. Rather than gradually collecting many tiny mutations, cancerous cells can dramatically acquire macromutations (large genomic leaps, tens or hundreds of structural rearrangements in genomic regions). The mechanisms of chromothripsis (chromosome shattering) are not well understood if microbiological information (cancer occurs when cellular iron overload affects DNA, RNA, chromosomes, even mitoses) is ignored. If cancer encompasses a class of local/regional iron-overload diseases (pancreatic cancer - local iron overload in the cells in the pancreas; lung cancer - local iron overload in the cells in the lung), most cancers can be adequately treated with surgical procedures and iron-chelating therapies (direct intratumoral injections of antiiron agents, blood donation and iron-poor diet). http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/178402 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/178291 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/178149 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/178127 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/178095 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/177989 ; https://www.facebook.com/TheWarOnCancerFoundation/posts/658257930905936 ; https://www.youtube.com/user/1Shapoval ; http://galacticconnection.com/father-oncology-vadim-shapoval-says-cell-needs-iron-overload-becomes-cancerous/ ; https://plus.google.com/107119198688120551734/posts ; http://my.mail.ru/bk/vadim.shapoval/ ; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/829554 ; http://www.cancercompass.com/cancer-news/article/47787.htm?c=NL20140813 ; Together We (CancerCompass, Medscape from WebMD, Medical News Today and Vadim Shapoval) Will Beat Cancer
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