The following news from the laboratories of scientists studying gastric cancer caught our attention over the past few months:
Breath Test Shows Promise in Early Study
Scientists from Israel and China reported in March that a breath test to detect gastric cancer was 90 percent accurate in a trial of 130 patients. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, used a breath test that contained sensors made of nanomaterials. The test—inspired by recent demonstrations that dogs can smell cancer—analyzes chemical profiles that are distinctive in stomach cancer patients. It seemed to be able to distinguish between cancer and more benign digestive complaints, such as stomach ulcers. The researchers suggest that although further studies are required, such technology could be used alongside other methods for the early diagnosis of gastric cancer.
Biomarker Discovery Could Guide Treatment Plans
A team of researchers from Italy and Portugal discovered a genetic abnormality that’s present in all forms of gastric cancer and that could help practitioners better determine prognoses and treatment plans for patients. The gene, called CDH1, encodes a protein that’s a known tumor suppressor. The scientists linked specific abnormalities in the expression of this protein with various subgroups of gastric cancer patients. In a paper for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, they suggest that screening patients for these alterations upon diagnosis could improve management of the disease.
Researchers Implicate Protein Complex in Gastric Cancer
In January, the Journal of Clinical Investigation published a paper identifying proteins that seem to promote the growth of both colon and gastric cancers. The protein cluster, called mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTorc1), is activated in digestive cancers that are marked by significant inflammation, the researchers discovered. The finding—reported by scientists from Australia, Singapore, and Germany—could point the way towards new drugs that target the mTorc1 complex.