In a new study, published online in the July 26 issue of PNAS, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Xijing Hospital and Sun Yat-sen Cancer Center in China, report that DNA methylation can provide effective markers for at least four major cancers, not only correctly differentiating malignant tissues from normal, but also providing information on prognosis and survival.
“Choosing the proper cancer treatment with the best chance of recovery and survival depends greatly upon accurately diagnosing the specific type or subtype of cancer,” said Kang Zhang, MD, PhD, founding director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and co-director of biomaterials and tissue engineering at the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, both at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “If you can do that using a minimally invasive biopsy, it has significant implications for cancer science and medicine. Using DNA methylation markers may be a new and more effective a way forward.”
They found that DNA methylation analysis could predict cancer versus normal tissue with more than 95 percent accuracy in the three cohorts, comparable to typical diagnostic methods, according to Zhang.
In addition, the analysis correctly identified 97 percent colorectal cancer metastases to the liver and 94 percent colorectal cancer metastases to the lung.
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