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JAMA. 2010 Feb 10;303(6):535-43. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.80.

Age- and sex-specific genomic profiles in non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. anil.potti@duke.edu



Gene expression profiling may be useful in examining differences underlying age- and sex-specific outcomes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


To describe clinically relevant differences in the underlying biology of NSCLC based on patient age and sex.


Retrospective analysis of 787 patients with predominantly early stage NSCLC performed at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, from July 2008 to June 2009. Lung tumor samples with corresponding microarray and clinical data were used. All patients were divided into subgroups based on age (< 70 vs > or = 70 years old) or sex. Gene expression signatures representing oncogenic pathway activation and tumor biology/microenvironment status were applied to these samples to obtain patterns of activation/deregulation.


Patterns of oncogenic and molecular signaling pathway activation that are reproducible and correlate with 5-year recurrence-free patient survival.


Low- and high-risk patient clusters/cohorts were identified with the longest and shortest 5-year recurrence-free survival, respectively, within the age and sex NSCLC subgroups. These cohorts of NSCLC demonstrate similar patterns of pathway activation. In patients younger than 70 years, high-risk patients, with the shortest recurrence-free survival, demonstrated increased activation of the Src (25% vs 6%; P<.001) and tumor necrosis factor (76% vs 42%; P<.001) pathways compared with low-risk patients. High-risk patients aged 70 years or older demonstrated increased activation of the wound healing (40% vs 24%; P = .02) and invasiveness (64% vs 20%; P<.001) pathways compared with low-risk patients. In women, high-risk patients demonstrated increased activation of the invasiveness (99% vs 2%; P<.001) and STAT3 (72% vs 35%; P<.001) pathways while high-risk men demonstrated increased activation of the STAT3 (87% vs 18%; P<.001), tumor necrosis factor (90% vs 46%; P<.001), EGFR (13% vs 2%; P = .003), and wound healing (50% vs 22%; P<.001) pathways. Multivariate analyses confirmed the independent clinical relevance of the pathway-based subphenotypes in women (hazard ratio [HR], 2.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.34-3.03; P<.001) and patients younger than 70 years (HR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.24-2.71; P = .003). All observations were reproducible in split sample analyses.


Among a cohort of patients with NSCLC, subgroups defined by oncogenic pathway activation profiles were associated with recurrence-free survival. These findings require validation in independent patient data sets.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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