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Cancer treatment outcome can be predicted by new diagnostic test

October 12, 2015

Cancer researchers at the Diamantina Institute at University of Queensland have announced the development of a new test that will help predict the outcome of cancer treatment for patients with a specific form of blood cancer.

The new tool, developed by Professor Maher Gandhi and his team, can predict how patients with a Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) will respond to standard treatment which is a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

DLBCL is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, constituting up to 40% of all cases globally, with up to 2000 Australians diagnosed each year.

Professor Gandhi said that the new discovery relates to how the immune system responds to lymphoma.

“Those with a high ratio of anti-tumour to pro-tumour immune cells have a greater than 90% chance of being cured by standard treatment while patients with a low ratio are unlikely to benefit from standard treatment.”

The new test can identify those who are highly likely to be cured with standard treatment involving approximately 60% of patients. The remaining 40% who will not respond to the standard treatment can be considered for other treatment options or could be eligible for new clinical trials.

“The test helps avoid ineffective and unnecessary chemotherapy and prompts consideration of other treatment options,” said Professor Gandhi.

Researchers are seeking a provisional patent for the test and are working with commercial partners to develop the technology further.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has supported the Diamantina Institute with three grants totalling AUD 6.2m for research into blood, breast, cervical, prostate and skin cancers as well as Osteosarcoma.

The research was published recently in the Lancet Haematology journal.

The original news item was published on the Diamantina Institute’s website.

An explainer article In Detail: Cancer test predicts treatment outcome is available on the Institute’s website.

Image courtesy of Professor Gandhi and the Diamantina Institute.

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