Proof-of-concept for breast cancer diagnostics shown for ExonHit's
RNA splicing platform
23 March 2009
Paris-based ExonHit Therapeutics (Alternext: ALEHT) has reported the
publication in Lancet Oncology of a study conducted by Institut
Gustave Roussy, which describes the identification of a deregulated cell
function in breast cancer through the analysis of alternative RNA
Study data demonstrate that exons are differently expressed in
malignant and benign lesions, and alternative transcripts determine the
molecular characteristics of breast malignancy.
"The splice variants that we have identified could be used as targets
for development of targeted therapies and also for a more precise
diagnostic test. A molecular diagnosis for breast cancer could improve
the performance of current diagnosis methods by increasing accuracy of
cytological investigations and decreasing the use of core-needle biopsy
or exploratory surgery," said Fabrice Andre, MD Breast Cancer Unit,
Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif,
France. He added: "Patients could greatly benefit from a more precise
"We are very happy to report that this independent study demonstrates
the clinical usefulness of our SpliceArray platform. It constitutes
another example of its many possible applications," said Dr Loic Maurel,
President of the Management Board of ExonHit Therapeutics.
"We are using the same technology platform for all our blood based
diagnostic projects; our internally funded diagnostic test for
Alzheimer's disease (EHT Dx21) and the breast, colon and prostate cancer
diagnostics developed with bioMerieux. We look forward to seeing other
applications of our technology and launching the first product developed
with this technology on the market."
SpliceArray biochips are ExonHit's proprietary research tools. They
quantify mRNA expression at the exon level. They also provide a
comprehensive RNA splicing analysis across the entire human genome and
enable the identification of known splice variants as well as the
detection of variants which have not yet been discovered or catalogued.
They represent a significant improvement over DNA arrays which only
quantify expression at the gene level.
The study conducted by Institut Gustave Roussy and leading to this
signature identification is the first study based on a large dataset of
165 breast tumour samples that compares gene expression of malignant
versus benign breast tumours. The signature was tested on 71 tumour
samples, 68 of which were properly classified; sensitivity and
specificity were respectively 96% and 95% .
1. Andre F, Michields S, Dessen P, Scott V, Suciu V, Uzan C,
Lazar V, Lacroix L, Vassal G, Spielmann M, Vielh P, Delaloge S.
Exonic expression profiling of breast cancer and benign lesions: a
retrospective analysis. The Lancet Oncology, Early Online
Publication, 26 February 2009.