Four Subtypes of Gastric Cancer Identified by Researchers

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Researchers in the Cancer Genome Atlas, a US group dedicated to characterizing genomes for over 30 cancer types, have identified that there are four distinct molecular subtypes of stomach.

 

This discovery may lead to a shift in treatment for patients with stomach cancer, allowing clinicians to administer individualized treatment based on the genetic features of each patient’s tumor. The research was recently published in Nature.

 

Each year approximately 723,000 people die of stomach cancer every year, it is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Currently, stomach cancer is classified as diffuse or intestinal, distinguishing between these classifications by identifying changes in cell and tissue.

 

Now researchers have show that the subgroups can be described as follows: (1) Epstein-Barr virus positive tumors; (2) tumors that show a high level of microsatellite instability; (3) genomically stables tumors that display a low level of somatic copy number alterations; and (4)chromosomally unstable tumors showing high levels of SCNAs.

 

Adam Bass, MD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, was a lead investigator on the study and described the advantage of the new classification system as being able to more usefully classify the groups of gastric cancer that have distinct features while also indentifying the key targets to peruse in the treatment of these different groups of patients.

E-Cadherins and Diffuse Gastric Cancer
E-Cadherins and Diffuse Gastric Cancer

Scientists belonging to a US research network have found there are four distinct molecular subtypes of stomach cancer, also referred to as gastric cancer or gastric adenocarcinoma. They believe the discovery will change how researchers and clinicians view stomach cancer, enabling treatments to be tailored to individual patients, according to the specific genetic features of their tumors.

The researchers, who report their findings in the journal Nature, are members of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a group of scientists in the US that formed in 2005 and is characterizing the genomes of more than 30 types of cancer.

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