Background: Despite its common use in cancer treatment, radiotherapy has not yet entered the era of precision medicine, and there have been no approaches to adjust dose based on biological differences between or within tumours. We aimed to assess whether a patient-specific molecular signature of radiation sensitivity could be used to identify the optimum radiotherapy dose.
Methods: We used the gene-expression-based radiation-sensitivity index and the linear quadratic model to derive the genomic-adjusted radiation dose (GARD). A high GARD value predicts for high therapeutic effect for radiotherapy; which we postulate would relate to clinical outcome. Using data from the prospective, observational Total Cancer Care (TCC) protocol, we calculated GARD for primary tumours from 20 disease sites treated using standard radiotherapy doses for each disease type. We also used multivariable Cox modelling to assess whether GARD was independently associated with clinical outcome in five clinical cohorts: Erasmus Breast Cancer Cohort (n=263); Karolinska Breast Cancer Cohort (n=77); Moffitt Lung Cancer Cohort (n=60); Moffitt Pancreas Cancer Cohort (n=40); and The Cancer Genome Atlas Glioblastoma Patient Cohort (n=98).
Findings: We calculated GARD for 8271 tissue samples from the TCC cohort. There was a wide range of GARD values (range 1·66-172·4) across the TCC cohort despite assignment of uniform radiotherapy doses within disease types. Median GARD values were lowest for gliomas and sarcomas and highest for cervical cancer and oropharyngeal head and neck cancer. There was a wide range of GARD values within tumour type groups. GARD independently predicted clinical outcome in breast cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma, and pancreatic cancer. In the Erasmus Breast Cancer Cohort, 5-year distant-metastasis-free survival was longer in patients with high GARD values than in those with low GARD values (hazard ratio 2·11, 95% 1·13-3·94, p=0·018).
Interpretation: A GARD-based clinical model could allow the individualisation of radiotherapy dose to tumour radiosensitivity and could provide a framework to design genomically-guided clinical trials in radiation oncology.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.