Author(s): Metzger R, Leichman CG, Danenberg KD, Danenberg PV, Lenz HJ,
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Abstract PURPOSE: We have previously shown that relative thymidylate synthase (TS) mRNA levels in primary gastric adenocarcinomas treated with fluorouracil (5-FU) and cisplatin are inversely associated with response and survival. This is a presumed function of TS as a target for 5-FU activity. We now test the hypotheses that the relative mRNA level of the excision repair cross-complementing (ERCC1) gene is inversely associated with response and survival as an independent function of cisplatin efficacy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients had intact, untreated, primary gastric adenocarcinoma cancer and were evaluated for eligibility on a preoperative cisplatin infusion-5-FU protocol. cDNA, derived from primary gastric tumors before chemotherapy, was used to determine ERCC1 mRNA levels, expressed as the ratio of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product of the ERCC1 gene and the beta-actin gene. RESULTS: The median ERCC1 mRNA level from 38 primary gastric cancers (33 assessable for response) was 5.8 x 10(-3) (range, 1.8 x 10(-3) to 19.5 x 10(-3)). Of 17 responding patients, 13 (76\%) were less than or equal to 5.8 x 10(-3) and four were greater than 5.8 x 10(-3) (P = .003). The median survival for patients with ERCC1 mRNA levels less than or equal to 5.8 x 10(-3) has not been reached, whereas for those greater than 5.8 x 10(-3) it was 5.4 months (P = .034). The median TS mRNA level, 3.7 x 10(-3) (range, 0.9 to 18.9) also segregated responsive versus resistant tumors (P = .024). With both ERCC1 and TS mRNA levels below their medians, 11 of 13 patients (85\%) responded; with both ERCC1 and TS mRNA levels above their medians, two of 10 patients (20\%) responded (P = .003). CONCLUSION: Considered separately, either ERCC1 or TS mRNA levels in a primary gastric adenocarcinoma has a statistically significant relationship to response. ERCC1 mRNA levels have a statistically significant association with survival; in this cohort TS mRNA levels did not reach statistically significant association with survival as in our previous publication. Whether these molecular parameters are independent of each other as predictors of outcome remains to be determined.
This article was published in J Clin Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy