Gastric Cancer Mutation Type Linked to Higher Mutational Load, But Better Prognosis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Gastric cancer patients with MUC16 gene mutations have higher tumor mutational loads than those who do not, according to a new study. These gene mutations could also identify patients who might benefit from immunotherapy.

More than 26,000 people are diagnosed with gastric cancer each year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute, and slightly less than a third of patients survive five years.

MUC16 is commonly mutated in gastric cancer, and researchers from the US and China sought to examine its relationship to tumor mutational load and prognosis in cohorts from the Cancer Genome Atlas and from Asia. The Cancer Genome Atlas project investigators previously identified four molecular subtypes of gastric cancer that are associated with different prognoses, and the researchers noted that these subtypes are influenced by tumor mutational load.

As they reported today in JAMA Oncology, the researchers found MUC16 to be linked to a higher mutational load, but also a better prognosis in both cohorts. As they also found MUC16 mutations to affect immune response, the researchers suggested that it could be used to identify patients who might respond to immunotherapies.

“Immunotherapy treatment has shown remarkable benefit for some cancer patients whereas

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