Can miRNA profiling allow us to determine which patients with esophageal cancer will respond to chemoradiotherapy?
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Evaluation of: Ko MA, Zehong G, Virtanen C, et al.. MicroRNA Expression Profiling of Esophageal Cancer Before and After Induction Chemoradiotherapy. Ann Thorac Surg. 94(4),1094-1103 (2012). Most patients undergoing surgery for esophageal cancer are treated before surgery with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, some tumors respond poorly to these treatments. Ko and colleagues profiled microRNA levels in esophageal cancers from patients who did vs. did not respond to chemoradiotherapy. A large number of microRNAs were differentially expressed between responders vs. non-responders, and patients with either decreased miR-135b or increased miR-145 expression in cancer tissue had improved disease free survival. Although this study has several limitations, including a mixed cohort of patients with adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and the absence of a validation set of patients, the results do suggest that a microRNA profiling approach may be able to circumvent one of the primary challenges for biomarker development, molecular heterogeneity.
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