Researchers at the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) have recently finished a study to determine the effectiveness of a gene ratio test in predicting which mesothelioma patients had the best prognosis for survival following surgery. This research supplemented previous research that compared the differences in gene expression in tissue samples of malignant pleural mesothelioma stratified by patient outcome after surgical therapy and developed a gene ratio test that was calculated from the expression levels of four genes to predict patient outcome.
The researchers prospectively examined three ratios of gene expression in 120 consecutive patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The patients underwent surgery at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The researchers collected gene expression data for four different genes and determined three gene expression ratios. The researchers stratified the patients into a good outcome group (58%) and a poor outcome group (42%) based on the results of the gene expression test.
Doctors found that the gene ratio test, combined with other diagnostic tools, allowed them to distinguish between patients at high risk and patients at low risk. Moreover, this allowed them to more accurately determine expected survival after surgery. Participation in the study was limited to patients who were willing and able to undergo an invasive and aggressive surgical treatment. Due to this the results may not apply to those who are not candidates for surgery because of age or current health level.