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Circadian genes may improve radiotherapy

Friday November 16th, 2018

Genetic analysis can be used to determine the best time of day to deliver radiotherapy to individual patients, British researchers have reported.

Two genes play a part in governing the circadian rhythm – and variants in these genes show patients unsuited to receiving morning treatment, according to the Leicester University study.

Some 879 patients with breast cancer took part in a study of the theory in Leicester, UK.

Researchers linked variants in the PER3 and NOCT genes with long-term side-effects, including chronic pain and skin damage, among patients who received morning treatment. In the short-term, these patients experienced excessive redness and peeling of the skin.

The findings have been published in Clinical Oncology. The university has now received funding for further research from a local charity Hope Against Cancer.

Researcher Dr Christopher Talbot said: “Previously, we and others have found several genetic variants that affect reactions to radiotherapy, especially in the ATM and TNF genes. The REQUITE project set out to find many more. Those variants increase risk for reactions irrespective of time of day and are distinct from the cases in our new report that only affect the time of day response and not risk, as such.

“It was known before that cancer drugs show different effects according to the time of day, but the evidence was weak for radiotherapy. We now have better evidence but also a way to determine who would benefit.”

Genetic Variants Predict Optimal Timing of Radiotherapy to Reduce Side-effects in Breast Cancer Patients. Clinical Oncology 30 October 2018

https://www.clinicaloncologyonline.net/article/S0936-6555(18)30462-X/fulltext

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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