Gene expression that causes chromosomal instability may predict which patients with lung or breast cancer are likely to respond to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, according to a study published in Nature Communications.1

The chromosomal locus involved in copying, the centromere, and the kinetochore, which is a protein complex involved in chromosomal movement, can cause chromosomal instability by functioning abnormally. The authors of the present study developed a “Centromere and kinetochore gene Expression Score (CES),” which scores aberrance of genetic behavior among patients with cancer.

CES values positively correlate with poor prognoses, and may predict which benefits will benefit from treatment for cancer. Patients with high CES scores may avoid unnecessary therapies that will not help them, and which cause only adverse effects.

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The authors claim that the ability of CES values to predict patient responses indicates that chromosomal instability is an important factor of drug resistance. Tests for CES should be employed in clinical settings to prevent unnecessary treatment, and to better target treatment options for individual patients.


  1. Zhang W, Mao JH, Zhu W, et al. Centromere and kinetochore gene misexpression predicts cancer patient survival and response to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Nat Commun. 2016 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12619 [Epub ahead of print]