Toxicity from radiation therapy is a grave problem for cancer patients. We hypothesized that some cases of toxicity are associated with abnormal transcriptional responses to radiation. We used microarrays to measure responses to ionizing and UV radiation in lymphoblastoid cells derived from 14 patients with acute radiation toxicity. The analysis used heterogeneity-associated transformation of the data to account for a clinical outcome arising from more than one underlying cause. To compute the risk of toxicity for each patient, we applied nearest shrunken centroids, a method that identifies and cross-validates predictive genes. Transcriptional responses in 24 genes predicted radiation toxicity in 9 of 14 patients with no false positives among 43 controls (P = 2.2 x 10(-7)). The responses of these nine patients displayed significant heterogeneity. Of the five patients with toxicity and normal responses, two were treated with protocols that proved to be highly toxic. These results may enable physicians to predict toxicity and tailor treatment for individual patients.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0307761101
View details for PubMedID 15096622