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Genomic alterations most representative of early-stage lung cancer tumors identified

According to researcher Alberto Orta, these results would prevent the high rate of recurrence of the disease.

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Alberto Orta
PHOTO: Manuel Castells
30/06/14 14:33 Laura Latorre

Dr. Alberto Orta Ruiz, graduate in Biology at the University of Navarra, has been able to identify the most representative genomic alterations in the tumors of early stage lung cancer patients by means of DNA chips, according to his doctoral thesis carried out at research center Médica Aplicada (CIMA).

For the expert at Genetics, these preliminary programs of study will make it possible in the future to define a genomic profile of the patients with the worst prognosis, identify them at the oncology enquiry and finally establish a complementary treatment to surgery (chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) that avoids the high rate of recurrence of the disease in this subgroup. Although he admits that the administration of these treatments is a controversial topic at present -many of these patients are already treated indiscriminately-, in the future it will be the biological markers that will help in the choice of the most appropriate treatment.

In his work he explains that early stage patients are diagnosed through screening protocols or accidentally, as they rarely, due to their small size, manifest the typical signs of the disease. "The treatment of choice for this group of patients is surgery, which has a survival of 58-73%. Despite these survival data , more than 30% of patients will present the disease again," he stresses. 

Leading cause of death from cancer

Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Despite advances in scientific and clinical research , overall 5-year survival of patients has not changed in the last 20 years, standing at 16%. programs of study In view of this data, early detection of the disease, new treatments and biological markers associated with patient prognosis are needed.

Dr. Orta's doctoral thesis has been directed by Dr. José Ángel Martínez Climent and Dr. María Isabel Zudaire Ripa, from department of Molecular Oncology and Biomarkers, respectively.