Cancer :: OHSU Cancer Institute researchers get closer to predict survivability for some cancer patients

Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Instituteresearchers have developed a Web-based software program that can helphead and neck cancer patients better predict their survivability.

“This new tool can help us make personalized predictions of conditionalsurvival for an individual patient depending on his or her specificsituation,” said Sam Wang, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator, HolmanPathway Resident in the Department of Radiation Medicine, OHSU School ofMedicine.

Conditional survival is a statistical system that takes into accountthe age when the patient was diagnosed with cancer and the time elapsedsince diagnosis. The new Web-browser software tool, called theregression model, can calculate a patient’s conditional survival basedon the patient’s age, gender, race and tumor site, stage andaggressiveness.

The study was recently presented at the annual American Society ofClinical Oncologists.

In a previous study researchers, including Wang, demonstrated theconcept of conditional survival for head and neck cancer. They showedthe longer patients survive after diagnosis and treatment, their bettertheir prognosis.

“This is the first time we have the ability to make a customizedprediction of conditional survival probability for an individual headand neck cancer survivor, based on his or her specific characteristics,”said Wang.

The long-term goal is to build similar software tools for othercancers, Wang explained,so that physicians will be able to give cancerpatients more individualized prognosis and treatment recommendations.

“Now that cancer researchers are beginning to collect more specificinformation about patients’ tumors, such as tumor markers and geneticinformation, there is increasing interest in the development of thesetypes of tools for making more specific predictions of a patient’sprognosis,” Wang said.

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