A collaborative study led by the University of Oxford as part of the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, published in Nature Genetics, has defined five new subgroups of the most common type of blood cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and associated these with clinical outcomes. This new method for risk stratifying patients could lead to more personalised patient care.
This is the first study to analyse all the relevant changes in DNA across the entire cancer genome, rather than targeted regions, to classify patients with cancer and link these subgroups to clinical outcomes.
Professor Anna Schuh of Oxford's Department of Oncology, who led the study, said: ‘We know that cancer is fundamentally a disease caused by changes in DNA that are acquired over the lifetime of an individual. The lab tools we currently use to predict whether or not a patient is likely to respond to a given therapy usually focus on single abnormalities in the cancer DNA and do not accurately predict the patient’s clinical outcome. This is why we asked the simple question: can we increase the precision of current testing by looking at all the acquired DNA changes in cancer at once?’