Boston – Changes in gene expression during chemoradiation can predict the likelihood of response to therapy for women with locally advanced cervical cancer according to new research from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) 50th Annual Meeting in Boston. RTOG, an NCI-funded national clinical trials group, is a clinical research component of the American College of Radiology (ACR). RTOG investigators examined tissue samples from 22 patients, including 13-paired samples, obtained prior to treatment and midway through treatment. The investigators found that changes in the gene signature pattern of seven genes predicted whether the woman’s cervical cancer would respond to treatment with a COX-2 inhibitor combined with chemoradiotherapy. Investigators did not find a pre-treatment or mid-treatment marker that predicted local control on its own, but rather it was the changes in gene expression from pre- to mid-treatment that predicted future response in 100 percent of the samples. The results were validated by leave one out and two-fold cross validation. According to Joanne Weidhaas, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the research from the Yale University Cancer Center, “This is an important first step towards tailoring therapy to individual patients. If we can predict midway through treatment how well a patient will respond to their therapy we can make treatment alterations earlier with a greater probability of improving outcome.” The tissue samples were from patients entered on RTOG 0128, a phase I/II study of chemoradiation given with a COX-2 inhibitor for women with locally advanced cervical cancer. The women enrolled on this study received a five week course of external radiation together with chemotherapy followed by brachytherapy which involved the insertion of two to five radioactive implants into the tumor site. Biopsies were done prior to the start of treatment and again at the time of the first brachytherapy application. For more information or to arrange an interview with an RTOG spokesperson, please contact Sharon Hartson Stine at 609.458.5604, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit RTOG at booth 2247. # # # ASTRO Abstract #34, Changes in Gene Expression Predicting Local Control in Cervical Cancer: Results from RTOG 0128, is available at http://www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(08)01018-3/fulltext. Information about RTOG is available at www.rtog.org. In addition to Dr. Weidhaas, authors include: S. Li, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; K. Winter, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia, PA; J. Ryu, UC Davis, Davis, CA; A. Jhingran, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; B. Miller, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC; A. Dicker, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; and D. Gaffney, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. The research was funded by National Cancer Institute grants CA21661, CA37422, and 32115. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) is a clinical research enterprise of the American College of Radiology (ACR), located in the ACR Philadelphia, PA office. RTOG is a multi-institutional international clinical cooperative group funded primarily by National Cancer Institute grants CA21661, CA32115 and CA37422. RTOG has 40 years of experience in conducting clinical trials and is comprised of over 300 major research institutions in the United States, Canada, and internationally. The group currently is currently accruing to 40 studies that involve radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapeutic drugs or which investigate quality of life issues and their effects on the cancer patient. The American College of Radiology (ACR) is a national professional organization serving more than 32,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of radiology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.