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Gene Expression Signature Predicts Therapy Response in Head, Neck Cancer

Researchers from Fujian Cancer Hospital in China have uncovered a gene expression signature that can predict which head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients are more likely to enter remission. As they report in BMC Genomics, the researchers analyzed data from The Cancer Genome Atlas on patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, dividing them into those who were in remission versus those who were not, based on their treatment response. Through this, the team identified genes that were differentially expressed between and homed in on a set of 20 genes that they used to form a risk prediction model. Patients placed in the low-risk group through this model were had a better overall survival and, in particular, after post-operative radiotherapy, the low-risk group had longer overall survival and lower recurrence, as compared to those in the high-risk group. The researchers additionally developed a nomogram using this risk score and other clinical features to predict survival in HNSCC. "We found that the prognostic risk signature and nomogram based on [therapeutic response-related genes] was an effective tool for predicting therapy response and prognosis, which is of great importance for individualized radiotherapy in HNSCC," the researchers wrote.