Stomach Cancers Separated into Four Distinct Types

Stomach cancer cells (via Wikimedia Commons)

“US researchers have shown that stomach cancer is at least four separate diseases.

“The findings, published in the journal Nature, could rapidly lead to new clinical trials focusing on the different forms. Drugs are already available that target the genetic faults behind some of them.

“Experts from The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network – a US-wide government-funded research project – analysed 295 samples of stomach cancers to find similarities that may be targeted when developing treatments.

“Research into the biology of stomach cancer and the development of new therapies has been difficult because of the different forms that the disease can take.

“Lead author Dr Adam Bass, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said that, despite stomach cancer being a diverse disease up until now researchers had tended to take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to stomach cancer treatments.”

Editor’s note: For other cancer types, including lung cancer and melanoma, doctors often prescribe drugs that are personalized according to mutations found in patients’ tumors. Learn more about personalized cancer treatment.

Image: Stomach cancer cells (via Wikimedia Commons)


Adjuvant Radiation Therapy Improved Survival in Diffuse-Type Gastric Cancer

Editor’s note: Researchers conducted a clinical trial with volunteer patients to test whether giving radiation after tumor-removal surgery could stave off recurrence for people with diffuse-type gastric cancer. A treatment that follows an initial treatment to reduce the risk of the cancer returning is known as an “adjuvant therapy.” In this clinical trial, patients who received adjuvant radiation therapy after surgery survived significantly longer than patients who did not.

“Patients with diffuse-type gastric cancer demonstrated prolonged OS when they received adjuvant radiation therapy, according to results of a SEER analysis.

“Alexander M. Stessin, MD, PhD, of the department of radiation oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and colleagues used the 2002 to 2005 SEER database to identify 1,889 patients with newly diagnosed diffuse-type gastric cancer who underwent surgical resection. Of these patients, 782 received adjuvant radiation therapy and 1,107 did not.

“Patients who received adjuvant radiation therapy were younger, more likely to have ≥15 dissected lymph nodes and more likely to have N3 lymph node status. They also had a higher American Joint Committee on Cancer disease stage.”