Cancer treatments have evolved rapidly in recent decades. The diagnosis of certain tumors such as lung or breast cancer itself – which currently has the highest survival rates – have gone from having an unfavorable prognosis to pathologies with a wide range of treatment possibilities. However, the survival of some types of cancer, such as endometrial cancer in advanced stages, is still a pending issue in current oncology . For this reason, further research is essential.
On February 1, 2022, an innovative research project was launched based on the application of cutting-edge techniques such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to generate an algorithm that allows predicting the chances that a treatment will work, as well as the risk of relapse in patients with endometrial cancer in advanced stages .
The key to this study, in which 300 women with endometrial cancer will participate over 3 years , is the application of personalized medicine . This is based on treating patients individually based on the specific characteristics of their tumor, since each patient is different and not all tumors can be treated in the same way. In this new concept of personalized oncology, the use of genomics and liquid biopsy play a major role, tools that allow the genetic and molecular characteristics of each tumor to be studied specifically from a sample of tumor tissue or a blood test, as if A barcode reading was done to identify each tumor specifically . These tools will allow each patient’s tumors to be named and surnamed from the moment of diagnosis and, in addition, to monitor the evolution of their mutations over time and after treatment. Once all the genetic and clinical characteristics of each patient are obtained, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be applied to design, with all this data, an algorithm that allows predicting the most appropriate treatments for future patients.
Endometrial cancer: The most frequent gynecological tumor
Endometrial cancer is the most frequent malignant gynecological tumor in developed countries and the fifth in incidence in women. In cases where this tumor is located within the uterus, treatment – with radiotherapy and surgery – is more likely to be successful. However, in cases where the tumor is located outside the uterus, things get complicated, since the success of the treatments is less . In the latter case, patients are considered high risk, since they are more likely to suffer a relapse and develop metastases.
To date, conventional therapeutic options in the most advanced stages of endometrial cancer have not been shown to be effective and the 5-year survival rate is reduced from 90% to 17% when the tumor is not diagnosed early , that is, in its first stages.
An international collaborative project
The researchers of this study will focus their efforts on finding a therapeutic alternative for those patients whose tumor is in more advanced stages and with a higher risk of relapse , since their life expectancy and quality of life are significantly reduced.
This is a trans-European project of the oncology area of the Biomedical Research Center Network (CIBERONC), coordinated by Dr. Gema Moreno-Bueno, head of the Translational Research Laboratory of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Spain Foundation and full professor at the Autonomous University from Madrid, and Dr. Laura Muinelo from the Santiago de Compostela Hospital Complex.
The project, which will last three years, has the collaboration of three other European research centers in Lublin (Poland), Bergen (Norway) and Tartu (Estonia), in addition to the Spanish CIBERONC, Hospital Complex of Santiago de Compostela and Vall d ‘Hebron Research Institute. The project also has the endorsement of the Spanish associations of ovarian and gynecological cancer patients ASACO and the European EnGaGe.
World Cancer Day
Today, February 4, is World Cancer Day. A commemorative day in which it is essential to remember that cancer is still the second cause of death worldwide .
Each cancer patient is a world, and cancer is not the same for all people . The set of diseases that constitute the word “cancer” and that are on the agenda represent one of the main challenges of research. Cancer is with us continuously . We all know a family member, friend or have someone close who knows to a person with cancer, a pathology whose incidence is increasing and its treatment, despite the advances made in recent years, remains a great challenge due to the complexity of this disease .
Identifying a tumor early, in its early stages, can make the difference between a good or a bad prognosis. For this reason, it is essential to attend regular medical check-ups and participate in screening programs. In addition, it is also necessary to remember that healthy lifestyle habits help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
MD Anderson International Madrid Foundation.
Sánchez Lorenzo, L. 2020. Endometrial-uterine cancer. Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM).
QUIEN. 2021. Cancer.
*Article reviewed and validated by Dr. Gema Moreno, head of the Translational Research Laboratory of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Spain Foundation and full professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid