Genomic research could help doctors better target oxaliplatin drug to treat colorectal cancer patients: Study

December 22, 2015

The TGen/Genomic Health researchers examined the role of individual cancer genes to influence the sensitivity or resistance of colon cancer cells grown in laboratory culture. An interfering RNA screen of 500 genes - with 2,000 unique siRNA sequences -identified 27 genes that, when silenced, altered the sensitivity of colon tumor cells to oxaliplatin, causing damage to the cancer cells' DNA and inhibiting the cancer cells' ability to reproduce and survive, the study said. This study has also showed that diverse gene networks also play a role in the ability of the drug to impact colon tumors.

"These 27 genes, whose loss of function significantly affect the effectiveness of oxaliplatin, may be promising therapeutic biomarkers for oxaliplatin," said Dr. Holly Yin, head of TGen's Cellular Genomics Collaborative Center in Scottsdale, and a co-author of the study.

Dr. Robert J. Pelham, a research scientist at Redwood City, Calif.-based Genomic Health and the study's senior author, said the findings indicate a need for additional clinical studies on tumor specimens in patients treated with oxaliplatin. "Such future clinical studies could eventually lead to potential clinical applications, where patients could benefit," Dr. Pelham said.

Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute