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Moffitt Cancer Center Develops Personalized Genomics Approach to Radiation Therapy

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A research team from the Moffitt Cancer Center has created a novel genomics model that allows a personalized approach to radiation therapy.

The model, called the genomic-adjusted radiation dose (GARD), can predict the therapeutic effect for radiotherapy and guide radiation dosing to match an individual's tumor radiosensitivity, according to the researchers. The findings, published yesterday in Lancet Oncology, demonstrated that the GARD model could differentiate those patients who may benefit from radiation therapy through genomics approaches.

"There is a high degree of variability among the GARD values for different patients within a single tumor type," Javier Torres-Roca, senior author and Moffitt researcher, said in a statement. "This suggests that different patients with the same type of tumor have different sensitivities to radiation therapy, further suggesting that the 'one-size-fits-all' approach to radiation therapy dose can be further optimized and personalized using tumor genomics."

This study builds on previous research by Torres-Roca — two years ago, he presented multiple studies that showed the possible utility of 10-gene expression index, called InterveneXRT. Last year he led a study, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, in whichthe researchers used the same index to show that metastatic tumors were slightly more resistant to radiation than primary tumors.

In this new study, the researchers used the GARD model to predict the clinical outcomes of 263 breast cancer patients who were treated with radiation therapy and surgery. The model was also able to predict the outcomes of additional patients with other cancers, including glioblastoma, lung, and pancreatic cancer. The researchers believe that GARD could be used to customize radiation dosages, which would not only deliver greater treatment benefit, but would also cut down on the treatment's toxicity.

Going forward, the researchers believe that GARD could be used in clinical trials to stratify patients based on their radiation sensitivity.