Methyl Levels in DNA Could Be Used to Predict Breast Cancer Survival

Methyl Levels in DNA Could Be Used to Predict Breast Cancer Survival
Advanced breast cancer patients with high levels of methylated DNA in their blood have shorter progression-free survival and overall survival than those with low levels, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. A key finding of the study is that a DNA detector called cMetDNA could be used to identify patients at higher risk of the cancer recurring just four weeks after they started treatment. This would allow doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments. DNA methylation, an important regulator of gene transcription, is common in a variety of tumors. Now it appears that high levels are associated with patient survival as well. Gene transcription is the first step in the process of creating a protein from a gene. The study, "Monitoring of Serum DNA Methylation as an Early Independent Marker of Response and Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer: TBCRC 005 Prospective Biomarker Study," was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. "There's a great need in cancer patients to be able to quickly and easily assess if a particular treatment is working in order to switch to another if it's not, thus avoiding wasted time, potential side effects and cost," Kala Visvanathan, MD, MHS, said in a news release. "Our study results, although preliminary, suggest that cMethDNA has the potential to be an effective way to do this for breast cancer patients." Visvanathan is a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins
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