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Cancer treatment outcomes are influenced by genetics and race, according to new study

A new study published in Pharmacogenomics suggests that a person’s response to anticancer drug treatments is strongly related to their genetic ancestry. Pharmacogenomics is published by Future Science Group.

Researchers used lymphoblastoid cell lines from 589 patients to identify associations between genetic variants and differential drug response, as well as the role of ethnicity in drug potency and efficacy for 28 chemotherapeutic compounds. Patients self-reported their ethnicity as Hispanic or non-Hispanic/Caucasian.

For many drugs, the variability in drug response appears to correlate with genetic ancestry and self-reported race. Hispanic and Caucasian samples exhibited unique results, indicating a complex relationship between genome and drug response and treatment outcomes. Notable associations were found for the drug temozolomide, which is used to treat brain tumors. Other drugs with results that suggest an association include etoposide and mitomycin, but the authors note that these results should be viewed as hypothesis generation.

Read the complete article here: DOI: 10.2217/PGS.15.85

“Based on the cell lines of hundreds of individuals, our research suggests that the genetic ancestry of a person is strongly related to a person’s response to anticancer drug treatment,” said John Jack, PhD, lead author and research scientist at North Carolina State University. “The developing field of “Personalized” or “precision medicine” will leverage these types of data to help inform a doctor’s decision on selecting the optimal drug and dose for each patient.”

“This elegant study addresses questions on the role of ethnicity in drug response and the part played by individual genes in drug response,” said Sarah Jones, Commissioning Editor. “Using state-of-the-art techniques, researchers observed significant differences in drug response by self-reported ethnicity, which led to hypotheses regarding the genetic differences underlying changes in concentration response.”