Metastasis is the end product of an evolutionary process in which diverse interactions between cancer cells and their microenvironment yield alterations that allow these cells to transcend their programmed behavior. Tumor cells thus populate and flourish in new tissue habitats and, ultimately, cause organ dysfunction and death. Understanding the many molecular players and processes involved in metastasis could lead to effective, targeted approaches to prevent and treat cancer metastasis.
A 64-year-old Filipino man presented to a Baltimore hospital with a 4-month history of worsening midback pain, progressive leg weakness, and intermittent bladder and bowel incontinence. He had no fever or pulmonary symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the thoracic spine revealed hypointense T1-weighted and hyperintense T2-weighted bone marrow signal involving vertebral bodies T2, T3, and T4 (findings that were consistent with osteomyelitis); vertebral compression fractures; an epidural fluid collection; and spinal cord compression (Fig. 1). Multiple blood cultures were negative. Because the spine was considered unstable, he underwent T2, T3, and T4 vertebrectomy with fusion from C3 to T8. Pathological studies of the operative specimen revealed granulation and chronic inflammation. No organisms were identified with the use of routine or special stains, including an auramine– phenol stain for acid-fast bacilli. Vertebral bone and material from the fluid collection were sent for fungal, mycobacterial, and routine bacterial cultures before the initiation of treatment with antimicrobial agents.
Survival of patients with acute lung injury or the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been improved by ventilation with small tidal volumes and the use of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP); however, the optimal level of PEEP has been difficult to determine. In this pilot study, we estimated transpulmonary pressure with the use of esophageal balloon catheters. We reasoned that the use of pleural-pressure measurements, despite the technical limitations to the accuracy of such measurements, would enable us to find a PEEP value that could maintain oxygenation while preventing lung injury due to repeated alveolar collapse or overdistention.
We randomly assigned patients with acute lung injury or ARDS to undergo mechanical ventilation with PEEP adjusted according to measurements of esophageal pressure (the esophageal-pressure–guided group) or according to the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network standard-of-care recommendations (the control group). The primary end point was improvement in oxygenation. The secondary end points included respiratory-system compliance and patient outcomes.
The study reached its stopping criterion and was terminated after 61 patients had been enrolled. The ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen to the fraction of inspired oxygen at 72 hours was 88 mm Hg higher in the esophageal-pressure–guided group than in the control group (95% confidence interval, 78.1 to 98.3; P = 0.002). This effect was persistent over the entire follow-up time (at 24, 48, and 72 hours; P = 0.001 by repeated-measures analysis of variance). Respiratory-system compliance was also significantly better at 24, 48, and 72 hours in the esophageal-pressure–guided group (P = 0.01 by repeated-measures analysis of variance).
As compared with the current standard of care, a ventilator strategy using esophageal pressures to estimate the transpulmonary pressure significantly improves oxygenation and compliance. Multicenter clinical trials are needed to determine whether this approach should be widely adopted. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00127491.)
Genetic variants of the enzyme that metabolizes warfarin, cytochrome P-450 2C9 (CYP2C9), and of a key pharmacologic target of warfarin, vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKORC1), contribute to differences in patients’ responses to various warfarin doses, but the role of these variants during initial anticoagulation is not clear.
In 297 patients starting warfarin therapy, we assessed CYP2C9 genotypes (CYP2C9 *1, *2, and *3), VKORC1 haplotypes (designated A and non-A), clinical characteristics, response to therapy (as determined by the international normalized ratio [INR]), and bleeding events. The study outcomes were the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range, the time to the first INR of more than 4, the time above the therapeutic INR range, the INR response over time, and the warfarin dose requirement.
As compared with patients with the non-A/non-A haplotype, patients with the A/A haplotype of VKORC1 had a decreased time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.02) and to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.003). In contrast, the CYP2C9 genotype was not a significant predictor of the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.57) but was a significant predictor of the time to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.03). Both the CYP2C9 genotype and VKORC1 haplotype had a significant influence on the required warfarin dose after the first 2 weeks of therapy.
Initial variability in the INR response to warfarin was more strongly associated with genetic variability in the pharmacologic target of warfarin, VKORC1, than with CYP2C9.
The use of either efavirenz or lopinavir–ritonavir plus two nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) is recommended for initial therapy for patients with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, but which of the two regimens has greater efficacy is not known. The alternative regimen of lopinavir–ritonavir plus efavirenz may prevent toxic effects associated with NRTIs.
In an open-label study, we compared three regimens for initial therapy: efavirenz plus two NRTIs (efavirenz group), lopinavir–ritonavir plus two NRTIs (lopinavir–ritonavir group), and lopinavir–ritonavir plus efavirenz (NRTI-sparing group). We randomly assigned 757 patients with a median CD4 count of 191 cells per cubic millimeter and a median HIV-1 RNA level of 4.8 log10 copies per milliliter to the three groups.
At a median follow-up of 112 weeks, the time to virologic failure was longer in the efavirenz group than in the lopinavir–ritonavir group (P = 0.006) but was not significantly different in the NRTI-sparing group from the time in either of the other two groups. At week 96, the proportion of patients with fewer than 50 copies of plasma HIV-1 RNA per milliliter was 89% in the efavirenz group, 77% in the lopinavir–ritonavir group, and 83% in the NRTI-sparing group (P = 0.003 for the comparison between the efavirenz group and the lopinavir–ritonavir group). The groups did not differ significantly in the time to discontinuation because of toxic effects. At virologic failure, antiretroviral resistance mutations were more frequent in the NRTI-sparing group than in the other two groups.
Virologic failure was less likely in the efavirenz group than in the lopinavir–ritonavir group. The virologic efficacy of the NRTI-sparing regimen was similar to that of the efavirenz regimen but was more likely to be associated with drug resistance. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00050895.)
A 28-year-old woman presents with a 7-month history of recurrent, crampy pain in the left lower abdominal quadrant, bloating with abdominal distention, and frequent, loose stools. She reports having had similar but milder symptoms since childhood. She spends long times in the bathroom because she is worried about uncontrollable discomfort and fecal soiling if she does not completely empty her bowels before leaving the house. She feels anxious and fatigued and is frustrated that her previous physician did not seem to take her distress seriously. Physical examination is unremarkable except for tenderness over the left lower quadrant. How should her case be evaluated and treated?
In January 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a nationwide investigation of severe adverse reactions that were first detected in a single hemodialysis facility. Preliminary findings suggested that heparin was a possible cause of the reactions.
Information on clinical manifestations and on exposure was collected for patients who had signs and symptoms that were consistent with an allergic-type reaction after November 1, 2007. Twenty-one dialysis facilities that reported reactions and 23 facilities that reported no reactions were included in a case–control study to identify facility-level risk factors. Unopened heparin vials from facilities that reported reactions were tested for contaminants.
A total of 152 adverse reactions associated with heparin were identified in 113 patients from 13 states from November 19, 2007, through January 31, 2008. The use of heparin manufactured by Baxter Healthcare was the factor most strongly associated with reactions (present in 100.0% of case facilities vs. 4.3% of control facilities, P<0.001). Vials of heparin manufactured by Baxter from facilities that reported reactions contained a contaminant identified as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS). Adverse reactions to the OSCS-contaminated heparin were often characterized by hypotension, nausea, and shortness of breath occurring within 30 minutes after administration. Of 130 reactions for which information on the heparin lot was available, 128 (98.5%) occurred in a facility that had OSCS-contaminated heparin on the premises. Of 54 reactions for which the lot number of administered heparin was known, 52 (96.3%) occurred after the administration of OSCS-contaminated heparin.
Heparin contaminated with OSCS was epidemiologically linked to adverse reactions in this nationwide outbreak. The reported clinical features of many of the cases further support the conclusion that contamination of heparin with OSCS was the cause of the outbreak.
There is an urgent need to determine whether oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS), a compound contaminating heparin supplies worldwide, is the cause of the severe anaphylactoid reactions that have occurred after intravenous heparin administration in the United States and Germany.
Heparin procured from the Food and Drug Administration, consisting of suspect lots of heparin associated with the clinical events as well as control lots of heparin, were screened in a blinded fashion both for the presence of OSCS and for any biologic activity that could potentially link the contaminant to the observed clinical adverse events. In vitro assays for the activation of the contact system and the complement cascade were performed. In addition, the ability of OSCS to recapitulate key clinical manifestations in vivo was tested in swine.
The OSCS found in contaminated lots of unfractionated heparin, as well as a synthetically generated OSCS reference standard, directly activated the kinin–kallikrein pathway in human plasma, which can lead to the generation of bradykinin, a potent vasoactive mediator. In addition, OSCS induced generation of C3a and C5a, potent anaphylatoxins derived from complement proteins. Activation of these two pathways was unexpectedly linked and dependent on fluid-phase activation of factor XII. Screening of plasma samples from various species indicated that swine and humans are sensitive to the effects of OSCS in a similar manner. OSCS-containing heparin and synthetically derived OSCS induced hypotension associated with kallikrein activation when administered by intravenous infusion in swine.
Our results provide a scientific rationale for a potential biologic link between the presence of OSCS in suspect lots of heparin and the observed clinical adverse events. An assay to assess the amidolytic activity of kallikrein can supplement analytic tests to protect the heparin supply chain by screening for OSCS and other highly sulfated polysaccharide contaminants of heparin that can activate the contact system.
Tibolone has estrogenic, progestogenic, and androgenic effects. Although tibolone prevents bone loss, its effects on fractures, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease are uncertain.
In this randomized study, we assigned 4538 women, who were between the ages of 60 and 85 years and had a bone mineral density T score of −2.5 or less at the hip or spine or a T score of −2.0 or less and radiologic evidence of a vertebral fracture, to receive once-daily tibolone (at a dose of 1.25 mg) or placebo. Annual spine radiographs were used to assess for vertebral fracture. Rates of cardiovascular events and breast cancer were adjudicated by expert panels.
During a median of 34 months of treatment, the tibolone group, as compared wit h the placebo group, had a decreased risk of vertebral fracture, with 70 cases versus 126 cases per 1000 person-years (relative hazard, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41 to 0.74; P<0.001), and a decreased risk of nonvertebral fracture, with 122 cases versus 166 cases per 1000 person-years (relative hazard, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.93; P = 0.01). The tibolone group also had a decreased risk of invasive breast cancer (relative hazard, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.80; P = 0.02) and colon cancer (relative hazard, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.96; P=0.04). However, the tibolone group had an increased risk of stroke (relative hazard, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.14 to 4.23; P = 0.02), for which the study was stopped in February 2006 at the recommendation of the data and safety monitoring board. There were no significant differences in the risk of either coronary heart disease or venous thromboembolism between the two groups.
Tibolone reduced the risk of fracture and breast cancer and possibly colon cancer but increased the risk of stroke in older women with osteoporosis. (ClinicalTrials. gov number, NCT00519857.)
The use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors to target the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer is effective but limited by the emergence of drug-resistance mutations. Molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells may provide a strategy for noninvasive serial monitoring of tumor genotypes during treatment.
We captured highly purified circulating tumor cells from the blood of patients with non–small-cell lung cancer using a microfluidic device containing microposts coated with antibodies against epithelial cells. We performed EGFR mutational analysis on DNA recovered from circulating tumor cells using allele-specific polymerase-chain-reaction amplification and compared the results with those from concurrently isolated free plasma DNA and from the original tumor-biopsy specimens.
We isolated circulating tumor cells from 27 patients with metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer (median number, 74 cells per milliliter). We identified the expected EGFR activating mutation in circulating tumor cells from 11 of 12 patients (92%) and in matched free plasma DNA from 4 of 12 patients (33%) (P = 0.009). We detected the T790M mutation, which confers drug resistance, in circulating tumor cells collected from patients with EGFR mutations who had received tyrosine kinase inhibitors. When T790M was detectable in pretreatment tumor-biopsy specimens, the presence of the mutation correlated with reduced progression-free survival (7.7 months vs. 16.5 months, P<0.001). Serial analysis of circulating tumor cells showed that a reduction in the number of captured cells was associated with a radiographic tumor response; an increase in the number of cells was associated with tumor progression, with the emergence of additional EGFR mutations in some cases.
Molecular analysis of circulating tumor cells from the blood of patients with lung cancer offers the possibility of monitoring changes in epithelial tumor genotypes during the course of treatment.
Menkes disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder of infancy caused by diverse mutations in a copper-transport gene, ATP7A. Early treatment with copper injections may prevent death and illness, but presymptomatic detection is hindered by the inadequate sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests. Exploiting the deficiency of a copper enzyme, dopamine-β-hydroxylase, we prospectively evaluated the diagnostic usefulness of plasma neurochemical levels, assessed the clinical effect of early detection, and investigated the molecular bases for treatment outcomes.
Between May 1997 and July 2005, we measured plasma dopamine, norepinephrine, dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, and dihydroxyphenylglycol in 81 infants at risk. In 12 newborns who met the eligibility criteria and began copper-replacement therapy within 22 days after birth, we tracked survival and neurodevelopment longitudinally for 1.5 to 8 years. We characterized ATP7A mutations using yeast complementation, reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction analysis, and immunohistochemical analysis.
Of 81 infants at risk, 46 had abnormal neurochemical findings indicating low dopamine-β-hydroxylase activity. On the basis of longitudinal follow-up, patients were classified as affected or unaffected by Menkes disease, and the neurochemical profiles were shown to have high sensitivity and specificity for detecting disease. Among 12 newborns with positive screening tests who were treated early with copper, survival at a median follow-up of 4.6 years was 92%, as compared with 13% at a median follow-up of 1.8 years for a historical control group of 15 late-diagnosis and late-treatment patients. Two of the 12 patients had normal neurodevelopment and brain myelination; 1 of these patients had a mutation that complemented a Saccharomyces cerevisiae copper-transport mutation, indicating partial ATPase activity, and the other had a mutation that allowed some correct ATP7A splicing.
Neonatal diagnosis of Menkes disease by plasma neurochemical measurements and early treatment with copper may improve clinical outcomes. Affected newborns who have mutations that do not completely abrogate ATP7A function may be especially responsive to early copper treatment.
Falling is a common and morbid condition among elderly persons. Effective strategies to prevent falls have been identified but are underutilized.
Using a nonrandomized design, we compared rates of injuries from falls in a region of Connecticut where clinicians had been exposed to interventions to change clinical practice (intervention region) and in a region where clinicians had not been exposed to such interventions (usual-care region). The interventions encouraged primary care clinicians and staff members involved in home care, outpatient rehabilitation, and senior centers to adopt effective risk assessments and strategies for the prevention of falls (e.g., medication reduction and balance and gait training). The outcomes were rates of serious fall-related injuries (hip and other fractures, head injuries, and joint dislocations) and fall-related use of medical services per 1000 person-years among persons who were 70 years of age or older. The interventions occurred from 2001 to 2004, and the evaluations took place from 2004 to 2006.
Before the interventions, the adjusted rates of serious fall-related injuries (per 1000 person-years) were 31.2 in the usual-care region and 31.9 in the intervention region. During the evaluation period, the adjusted rates were 31.4 and 28.6, respectively (adjusted rate ratio, 0.91; 95% Bayesian credibility interval, 0.88 to 0.94). Between the preintervention period and the evaluation period, the rate of fall-related use of medical services increased from 68.1 to 83.3 per 1000 person-years in the usual-care region and from 70.7 to 74.2 in the intervention region (adjusted rate ratio, 0.89; 95% credibility interval, 0.86 to 0.92). The percentages of clinicians who received intervention visits ranged from 62% (131 of 212 primary care offices) to 100% (26 of 26 home care agencies).
Dissemination of evidence about fall prevention, coupled with interventions to change clinical practice, may reduce fall-related injuries in elderly persons.
Angiomyolipomas in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis are associated with mutations in tuberous sclerosis genes resulting in constitutive activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). The drug sirolimus suppresses mTOR signaling.
We conducted a 24-month, nonrandomized, open-label trial to determine whether sirolimus reduces the angiomyolipoma volume in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis. Sirolimus was administered for the first 12 months only. Serial magnetic resonance imaging of angiomyolipomas and brain lesions, computed tomography of lung cysts, and pulmonary-function tests were performed.
Of the 25 patients enrolled, 20 completed the 12-month evaluation, and 18 completed the 24-month evaluation. The mean (±SD) angiomyolipoma volume at 12 months was 53.2±26.6% of the baseline value (P<0.001) and at 24 months was 85.9±28.5% of the baseline value (P = 0.005). At 24 months, five patients had a persistent reduction in the angiomyolipoma volume of 30% or more. During the period of sirolimus therapy, among patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis, the mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) increased by 118±330 ml (P = 0.06), the forced vital capacity (FVC) increased by 390±570 ml (P<0.001), and the residual volume decreased by 439±493 ml (P = 0.02), as compared with baseline values. One year after sirolimus was discontinued, the FEV1 was 62±411 ml above the baseline value, the FVC was 346±712 ml above the baseline value, and the residual volume was 333±570 ml below the baseline value; cerebral lesions were unchanged. Five patients had six serious adverse events while receiving sirolimus, including diarrhea, pyelonephritis, stomatitis, and respiratory infections.
Angiomyolipomas regressed somewhat during sirolimus therapy but tended to increase in volume after the therapy was stopped. Some patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis had improvement in spirometric measurements and gas trapping that persisted after treatment. Suppression of mTOR signaling might constitute an ameliorative treatment in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00457808.)
We developed an in vitro method for isolating and expanding autologous CD4+ T-cell clones with specificity for the melanoma-associated antigen NY-ESO-1. We infused these cells into a patient with refractory metastatic melanoma who had not undergone any previous conditioning or cytokine treatment. We show that the transferred CD4+ T cells mediated a durable clinical remission and led to endogenous responses against melanoma antigens other than NY-ESO-1.
The cost-effectiveness of prophylactic vaccination against human papillomavirus types 16 (HPV-16) and 18 (HPV-18) is an important consideration for guidelines for immunization in the United States.
We synthesized epidemiologic and demographic data using models of HPV-16 and HPV-18 transmission and cervical carcinogenesis to compare the health and economic outcomes of vaccinating preadolescent girls (at 12 years of age) and vaccinating older girls and women in catch-up programs (to 18, 21, or 26 years of age). We examined the health benefits of averting other HPV-16–related and HPV-18–related cancers, the prevention of HPV-6–related and HPV-11–related genital warts and juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis by means of the quadrivalent vaccine, the duration of immunity, and future screening practices.
On the assumption that the vaccine provided lifelong immunity, the cost-effectiveness ratio of vaccination of 12-year-old girls was $43,600 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained, as compared with the current screening practice. Under baseline assumptions, the cost-effectiveness ratio for extending a temporary catch-up program for girls to 18 years of age was $97,300 per QALY; the cost of extending vaccination of girls and women to the age of 21 years was $120,400 per QALY, and the cost for extension to the age of 26 years was $152,700 per QALY. The results were sensitive to the duration of vaccine-induced immunity; if immunity waned after 10 years, the cost of vaccination of preadolescent girls exceeded $140,000 per QALY, and catch-up strategies were less cost-effective than screening alone. The cost-effectiveness ratios for vaccination strategies were more favorable if the benefits of averting other health conditions were included or if screening was delayed and performed at less frequent intervals and with more sensitive tests; they were less favorable if vaccinated girls were preferentially screened more frequently in adulthood.
The cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination will depend on the duration of vaccine immunity and will be optimized by achieving high coverage in preadolescent girls, targeting initial catch-up efforts to women up to 18 or 21 years of age, and revising screening policies.
CC chemokine receptor 5 antagonists are a new class of antiretroviral agents.
We conducted two double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 studies — Maraviroc versus Optimized Therapy in Viremic Antiretroviral Treatment-Experienced Patients (MOTIVATE) 1 and MOTIVATE 2 — with patients who had R5 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) only. They had been treated with or had resistance to three antiretroviral-drug classes and had HIV-1 RNA levels of more than 5000 copies per milliliter. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three antiretroviral regimens consisting of maraviroc once daily, maraviroc twice daily, or placebo, each of which included optimized background therapy (OBT) based on treatment history and drug-resistance testing. Safety and efficacy were assessed after 48 weeks.
A total of 1049 patients received the randomly assigned study drug; the mean baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 72,400 copies per milliliter, and the median CD4 cell count was 169 per cubic millimeter. At 48 weeks, in both studies, the mean change in HIV-1 RNA from baseline was greater with maraviroc than with placebo: −1.66 and −1.82 log10 copies per milliliter with the once-daily and twice-daily regimens, respectively, versus −0.80 with placebo in MOTIVATE 1, and −1.72 and −1.87 log10 copies per milliliter, respectively, versus −0.76 with placebo in MOTIVATE 2. More patients receiving maraviroc once or twice daily had HIV-1 RNA levels of less than 50 copies per milliliter (42% and 47%, respectively, vs. 16% in the placebo group in MOTIVATE 1; 45% in both maraviroc groups vs. 18% in MOTIVATE 2; P<0.001 for both comparisons in each study). The change from baseline in CD4 counts was also greater with maraviroc once or twice daily than with placebo (increases of 113 and 122 per cubic millimeter, respectively, vs. 54 in MOTIVATE 1; increases of 122 and 128 per cubic millimeter, respectively, vs. 69 in MOTIVATE 2; P<0.001 for both comparisons in each study). Frequencies of adverse events were similar among the groups.
Maraviroc, as compared with placebo, resulted in significantly greater suppression of HIV-1 and greater increases in CD4 cell counts at 48 weeks in previously treated patients with R5 HIV-1 who were receiving OBT. (ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00098306 and NCT00098722.)
A 53-year-old man, who is otherwise healthy and has a 20-year history of occasional heartburn, reports having had worsening heartburn for the past 12 months, with daily symptoms that disturb his sleep. He reports having had no dysphagia, gastrointestinal bleeding, or weight loss and in fact has recently gained 20 lb (9 kg). What would you advise regarding his evaluation and treatment?
The glomerular microvasculature is particularly susceptible to injury in thrombotic microangiopathy, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. We report the cases of six patients who were treated with bevacizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in whom glomerular disease characteristic of thrombotic microangiopathy developed. To show that local reduction of VEGF within the kidney is sufficient to trigger the pathogenesis of thrombotic microangiopathy, we used conditional gene targeting to delete VEGF from renal podocytes in adult mice; this resulted in a profound thrombotic glomerular injury. These observations provide evidence that glomerular injury in patients who are treated with bevacizumab is probably due to direct targeting of VEGF by antiangiogenic therapy.
PMID: 18337603 CAMSID: cams1635
It is a challenge to identify patients who, after undergoing potentially curative treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, are at greatest risk for recurrence. Such high-risk patients could receive novel interventional measures. An obstacle to the development of genome-based predictors of outcome in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma has been the lack of a means to carry out genomewide expression profiling of fixed, as opposed to frozen, tissue.
We aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of gene-expression profiling of more than 6000 human genes in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. We applied the method to tissues from 307 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, from four series of patients, to discover and validate a gene-expression signature associated with survival.
The expression-profiling method for formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue was highly effective: samples from 90% of the patients yielded data of high quality, including samples that had been archived for more than 24 years. Gene-expression profiles of tumor tissue failed to yield a significant association with survival. In contrast, profiles of the surrounding nontumoral liver tissue were highly correlated with survival in a training set of tissue samples from 82 Japanese patients, and the signature was validated in tissues from an independent group of 225 patients from the United States and Europe (P=0.04).
We have demonstrated the feasibility of genomewide expression profiling of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues and have shown that a reproducible gene-expression signature correlated with survival is present in liver tissue adjacent to the tumor in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.