EPICUP Uses Epigenetic Biomarkers To Identify Cancers of Unknown Primary

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Manel Esteller Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program (PEBC) Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

Dr. Manel Esteller

Dr. Manel Esteller
Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program (PEBC)
Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) occurs when the patient is diagnosed with a metastasis but the primary tumor is not found. It accounts for around 5-10% of tumors around the world and the survival is very poor. Until now, only in 25% of cases the primary site was identified after diagnosis pipeline. We are showing herein that the use of epigenetic profiling, based in the determination of the chemical marks occurring in DNA that are tumor-type specific, reaches a diagnoses of 87% of cases.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: One of the most important ideas from the report is that the correct determination of the tumor site that originated the metastasis gives the patient an increase overall survival if he/she is treated with a specific therapy for that tumor type. The developed test, EPICUP, provided that advantage.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our goal is that the use of the epigenetic profiling test reaches all new identified cases of  Cancer of Unknown Primary, being an essential part of the routine diagnosis procedure for this clinical entity.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Just to mention that if the determination of the primary sites doubled the overall survival in ur study, we really think that the introduction of new molecular therapies for each identified tumor type will improve the outcome of these patient even further.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Moran S, Martínez-Cardús A, Sayols S, Musulén E, Balana C, Estival-Gonzalez A, Moutinho C, Heyn H, Diaz-Lagares A, Castro de Moura M, Stella GM, Comoglio PM, Ruiz-Miró M, Matias-Guiu X, Pazo-Cid R, Antón A, Lopez-Lopez R, Soler G, Longo F, Guerra I, Fernandez S, Assenov Y, Plass C, Morales R, Carles J, Bowtell D, Mileshkin L, Sia D, Tothill R, Tabernero J, Llovet JM, Esteller M. Epigenetic profiling to classify cancer of unknown primary: a multicentre, retrospective analysis. The Lancet Oncology, August 2016 DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30297-2

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Last Updated on August 29, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD