Study of “exceptional responders” yields clues to cancer and potential treatments

In a comprehensive analysis of patients with cancer who had exceptional responses to therapy, researchers have identified molecular changes in the patients’ tumors that may explain some of the exceptional responses. The results demonstrate that genomic characterizations of cancer can uncover genetic alterations that may contribute to unexpected and long-lasting responses to treatment, according to the researchers.

The results appeared in Cancer Cell on Nov. 19. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the study in collaboration with investigators from other institutions, including NCI-designated Cancer Centers.

“The majority of patients in this study had metastatic cancers that are typically difficult to treat, yet some of the patient responses lasted for many years,” said Louis Staudt, M.D., Ph.D., director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics, who co-led the study. “Researchers and the doctors who treat these patients have long been curious about the mechanisms underlying these rare responses to treatment. Using modern genomic tools, we can now start to solve these fascinating puzzles.”

crowd of people in the shape of a DNA double helix

A genomic study has uncovered molecular changes in patient tumors that may give rise to dramatic and long-lasting responses to cancer therapy.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022