Test May Help Predict Survival From Ovarian Cancer
Method was used to count special type of immune cells in tumors from 30 women in study
This new technology potentially could be used to predict treatment response, cancer recurrence and disease-free survival earlier and more effectively than current methods, Bielas noted.
It could therefore be used to guide personalized medicine. For example, it could be used to determine which immune and chemotherapy drugs are best to treat a particular patient, Bielas suggested.
"Thus, TIL can be used to guide the selection of drugs for cancer therapy, thereby improving patient outcome. The implementation of this assay in the clinic should improve cancer diagnostics and ultimately save lives," he said.
Because the test is still experimental, Bielas could not estimate what the test might cost if it were eventually approved and used widely in patients.
Right now the test isn't ready for general use, according to Dr. Franck Pages, a professor of immunology at the Hospital European Georges Pompidou in Paris, and author of an accompanying journal editorial.
"The new technology does not obviously fulfill the requirements for an easy routine clinical use to quantify T-cell infiltration in a tumor," Pages said, "but the technology could help in immunotherapy trials to determine the immunological response induced in the tumor."
Another expert agreed that more work must be done before the test can be used clinically.
"It's been known for some time that there is a correlation between the level of natural killer cells -- T-cells -- and the prognosis of patients," said William Chambers, interim national vice president for extramural research at the American Cancer Society.
"There is going to be a need for other people to verify the findings from this study," Chambers said. "There is also a need to figure out how this would fit in the context of any sort of clinical approach."