Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Cells Provide Insight into the Biological Mechanisms Associated with Regimen-Related Toxicities in Patients being treated for Head and Neck Cancers

AuthorsEdward Fey, Stephen Sonis
PublishedMarch 01, 2007
JournalOral Oncology


Patients treated with radiotherapy are prone to a constellation of local and systemic toxicities including mucositis, xerostomia, fatigue and anorexia. The biological complexities and similarities underlying the development of toxicities have recently been realized. Mucosal barrier injury is one of the best studied, and gene expression patterns, based on animal tissue samples, have added to its understanding. While investigations gene expression based on tissue samples was valuable, its use precludes more generalizable conclusions relative to common pathogenic mechanisms. Additionally, attempting to define the kinetics of changes in gene expression by sequential sampling is pragmatically unrealistic. Our objectives were: 1. to determine if changes in gene expression could be detected during toxicity development using PBM from patients receiving chemoradiation; 2. to characterize the relationship of expressed genes using graph theory and pathway analysis; and 3. to evaluate potential relationships between the expression of particular genes, canonical pathways, and functional networks in explaining the pathogenesis of regimen-related toxicities.

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