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Protein linked to cancer recovery

September 11, 2006|From Times wire reports

The presence or absence of a protein in lung cancer cells could help doctors predict whether chemotherapy will help patients live longer after surgery, researchers say.

In a study published in the Sept. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, they found that volunteers with undetectable levels of the protein ERCC1, which is important in repairing DNA, had a five-year survival rate of 47% when treated with the platinum-based class of chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin.

The survival rate dropped to 39% without treatment after surgery to remove the tumor.

When the tumors had plenty of ERCC1, the situation was reversed. Those who received no chemotherapy did better than those who did.

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