The KRAS-variant is one of the first discovered members of a new class of genetic markers that predict increased cancer risk and unique treatment response to cancer therapy. The biology of the KRAS-variant affords great promise for both preventing and curing cancer in individuals with this inherited mutation.

 

Women’s Cancer Risk

Women with the KRAS-variant have up to a six-fold increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, as well as an increased risk of non-small cell lung cancer. New data indicates that sudden estrogen withdrawal may increase cancer risk for women with this genetic mutation. In addition, women with the KRAS-variant appear to be at a significantly higher risk of multiple primary cancer, including multiple primary breast cancer. Knowing a woman’s KRAS-variant status is an additional piece of information to help direct decisions for screening and risk reduction.

Personalized Medicine

Cancer therapies are chosen based on results of studies of groups of patients. There has been little information available to help identify how individuals within the group respond. The KRAS-variant has been shown to significantly subgroup patients into responders or non-responders to therapies being used today as standard of care. Knowing a patient’s unique genetic make up affords the opportunity to personalize cancer therapy and ultimately get better results with improved progression free and overall survival. This is critical not only for first line therapy, but certainly when choosing a treatment for second and third line therapy.

Radiogenomics

Up to 90% of cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. Currently, there are no biomarkers used to identify patients that achieve the greatest benefit from radiation, versus those that have sensitivities that may outweigh the benefits. MiraDx is developing a panel of such biomarkers, including the KRAS-variant, as well as performing individual patient testing to diagnose those with ATM.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2014 ISSUE

discover-mag

The Little-Known Genetic Mutation Behind Many Aggressive Cancers

Despite the dangers of the KRAS-variant mutation, few doctors have heard of it. But one researcher is trying to change that.

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