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New gene test can predict tumor spread in bladder cancer patients

November 06, 2015

By the time a third of people are diagnosed, bladder cancer has invaded from the bladder lining into the bladder muscle. Gold-standard treatment includes surgical removal of the bladder and the surrounding lymph nodes; some people also undergo radiation treatment. Even with these treatments, the cancer will recur and spread in about half the people-which is almost always fatal.

Bladder cancer is diagnosed during a procedure called a transurethral resection-essentially a biopsy of the bladder. Using the new test, pathologists can determine the levels for the 20 genes in the diagnostic tissue sample and indicate whether the patient has cancer in the lymph nodes.

"We validated the test's ability to predict lymph node spread of the cancer in a large sample of patients from a randomized trial," said Theodorescu. "The predictive ability held up. If this new test is used to guide neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, we hope it will both help people with positive nodes live longer and keep people with negative nodes from being overtreated."

A clinical trial of using the test as a treatment guide is being planned.

Source: University of Colorado Denver