Gene Signature to Identify Patients Who Will Benefit from Tamoxifen Therapy

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Recent research published in Cancer Research, the journal of the American Associated for Cancer Research, has identified a gene signature that has the potential to identify patients that will benefit from tamoxifen therapy.


Rene Bernards, PhD, cofounder of Agendia, Inc., conducted the study that drew upon data involving approximately 680 patients with estrogen receptor¬–positive breast cancer. Estrogen receptor–positive disease comprises about 70% of patients with breast cancer.


Currently, tamoxifen is effective in reducing the risk of cancer in most of this subset of patients, but not everyone responds positively to the treatment. By identifying patients who will respond, those who don’t respond to treatment will not be unnecessarily subjected to potential risks and side effects, which include menopausal-like symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido as well as less common but more serious risks such as endometrial cancer and blood clots.


Dr. Bernards and colleagues indentified and tested a gene signature that is associated with the loss of function of a gene called USP9X. According to their research, tamoxifen resistance occurs when USP9X loses function in the breast cancer cell.


The gene signature was able to identify tamoxifen-resistance in patients in two large cohorts. Dr. Bernards and colleagues are not working to validate these results using data from a prospective randomized controlled trial that should be completed by the end of the year.

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A gene signature has potential to identify which patients will benefit from tamoxifen therapy.
Innovative research by Rene Bernards, Ph.D., the co-founder of Agendia, Inc., has identified a gene signature that has potential to identify which patients will benefit from tamoxifen therapy. Bernards' research appears in the journal Cancer Research, published by the American Association for Cancer Research.
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