Genetic variations ensure no two people or their cancers are identical, and researchers may provide more precise and effective treatment wielding tools and knowledge that predict how individuals will respond to cancer therapy.

At the recent 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers presented data on new biomarkers that can predict response to well-known treatments for breast cancer, pediatric neuroblastoma, and kidney and non-small cell lung cancer.

CD34bright/CD133neg candidate circulating endothelial progenitor cells are a potential biomarker during treatment with sunitinib or bevacizumab: Abstract 4956.

Researchers have identified two potential biomarkers that could help doctors monitor the effectiveness of treatment with sunitinib or bevacizumab for kidney and non-small cell lung cancer.

In a study that included 23 patients with renal cell cancer and 19 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, researchers assessed tumor response with computed tomography scans according to the RECIST criteria. They also monitored plasma levels of vascular endothelial growth factor.

During a four-week “on” period of treatment with sunitinib, the ccEPC increases paralleled the rise in plasma VEGF levels; they decreased during the two-week “off” period, the researchers said. Further, monocytes and hematopoietic progenitor cells demonstrated the opposite pattern.

The researchers are defining how the genes function within breast cancer cells to pinpoint possible targets for treatment.

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