08:44pm Wednesday 22 January 2020

Step closer to predicting cancer patients' drug toxicity

Researchers at the University of Adelaide are now one step closer to accurately predicting which cancer patients will experience severe toxicity from chemotherapy.

In a pilot study involving 34 patients, researchers looked at specific genetic variations in the patients’ immune system, and compared that with information about the types of cancer each patient had.

The researchers then produced a model that was able to predict – with more than 87% accuracy – the risk of patients having severe toxicity to their chemotherapy treatments.

“This is the first time that immune genetic factors have been used to predict the risk of toxicity for patients.  While much more work still needs to be done to test and finalise this model, we’re very pleased with the results so far,” says Dr Janet Coller from the University’s School of Medical Sciences, who is lead author of the study, published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

Dr Coller says there are two specific genetic variations in the immune system that appear to play a role: a cell-signalling protein known as Tumor necrosis factor alpha, and a protein called Toll-like receptor 2.

“At this stage we’re not entirely sure how these genetic variants lead to increases in a person’s toxicity to chemotherapy, and it warrants further investigation,” Dr Coller says.

“But we have a strong indication that genetic variation is playing a role, and it is something that we could potentially test for in the future.  We’re excited about the results because at the moment there is no way of telling a patient how likely they are to experience toxicity from chemotherapy drugs.

“Knowing this information will be vital in understanding whether or not certain patient groups need additional therapeutic support to help minimise severe toxic reactions,” she says.

The next studies are already underway to validate the current results. Dr Coller is also currently seeking healthy people aged 18-65 to take part in similar studies, so that their genetics can be compared with people who are taking other medicines. For more information or to join, call Dr Janet Coller on 8313 3906, or email: janet.coller@adelaide.edu.au
This research is supported by the Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. and the Ray and Shirl Norman Cancer Research Trust.

Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on google_plusone_share Share on linkedin Share on email More Sharing Services 0
Find an Expert
Contact Details
Dr Janet Coller (email)
Senior Lecturer
School of Medical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3906
Mobile: 0419 856 364

Kate Bourne (email)
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: 08 8313 3173
Mobile: 0457 537 677

Share on:


Health news