Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Cancer have said that the genes that may contribute to drug resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can now be predicted. They have found good correlation between genes believed to be involved in drug sensitivity and resistance and actual in vitro chemosensitivity.
Ian Cree, from Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK, led a team of researchers who assessed the chemosensitivity of a series of 49 NSCLC tumors and compared this with quantitative expression of putative resistance genes measured by RT-PCR. He said, "There was considerable heterogeneity between tumors, and while this showed no direct correlation with individual gene expression, there was strong correlation of multi-gene signatures for many of the single chemotherapy agents and combinations tested. This may allow the definition of predictive signatures to guide individualized chemotherapy in lung cancer".
The researchers tested docetaxel, cisplatin, gemcitabine and combinations of the agents on tumour cells taken from 49 fresh NSCLC samples. There were considerable differences between tumors in their sensitivity to individual agents and combinations, though the combination of cisplatin + gemcitabine was usually the most active.