Genetic Signature: Predicting Tumor Aggressiveness

  • Actively dividing tumors appear to progress to a life-threatening condition more rapidly than slowly dividing tumors.
  • The assessment of actively dividing tumors currently involves a manual enumeration of mitotic cells in a histological slide prepared from the tumor and assessed by a trained pathologist.
  • Moffitt researchers have invented a method of using gene expression data to identify patients with slightly more aggressive forms of tumors that might require closer monitoring or chemotherapeutic intervention.


  • The basic principle is that the gene expression data from a group of selected genes is assessed to identify adenocarcinoma tumor samples with a high rate of mitosis and thus a higher likelihood of having a poor response to treatment.
  • The genes involved are those in the regulation of the cell cycle and the mitotic process, to assess the overall mitotic state of a tumor sample.
  • Gene expression levels can be assessed with data from microarrays or Q-PCR.
  • The genes and the mechanism for evaluating them are possibly applicable to a variety of tumor types in addition to adenocarcinoma.


Planned prospective validation.


  • Director’s Challenge Consortium et al. (2008) Nature Medicine 14:822-827.
  • US patent application filed.


Haskell Adler PhD MBA CLP
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Registered Patent Agent
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