John Theurer Cancer Center Presents Genomic Data on Poor Risk Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Using Targeted DNA and RNA Sequencing at the 55th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting

HACKENSACK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Andre Goy, M.D., Chairman and Director, and Chief of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center and Chief Science Officer and Director of Research and Innovation of Regional Cancer Care Associates, presented new data providing further insight into the complexity of the genomic landscape in high-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common subtype of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) among adults. The oral abstract was presented today during Session 622 at 3:15 p.m. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the 2013 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

“As one of the premier Lymphoma and Pathology programs in the nation, we are committed to being at the forefront of cutting-edge research and treatment”

Among lymphomas – the most frequent form of blood cancers – there are many subtypes with different manifestations. More than 50% of patients with diffuse large cell lymphoma are cured with a combination of monoclonal rituximab with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, Hydroxydaunorubicin (doxorubicin), Oncovin (vincristine) and prednisone). Unfortunately, patients can experience relapses or recurrences. Most occur early – within the first two years – and patients often experience very poor outcomes.

However, thanks to the human genome project and progress in understanding cancer cell biology, researchers can now look inside the cells and see how they have been “rewired,” as a result of genetic mutations.

A number of studies at ASH report on the genetic differences among lymphoma patients, though they seem to have the “same lymphoma under the microscope.”

Targeted DNA and RNA sequencing of 35 DLBCL primary tumors from very poor outcome DLBCL patients with a median OS of 8.4 months (range .3-44.5 months) identified 214 genomic alterations – an average of 6.1 per sample in 71 genes. There was a low overall failure rate (1/36 samples for DNA, 2/36 for RNA), deep unique coverage and simultaneous detection of multiple rearrangements (BCL2, BCL6, MYC) using a combination of DNA and RNA sequencing. Additionally, the team observed a potentially interesting enrichment of alterations in tumor suppression proteins – P53 and MLL2 – in aggressive disease, with cohort expansion and more detailed genotype/phenotype correlative analysis ongoing.

Overall, the study demonstrated technical feasibility of comprehensive genomic profiling of DLBCL from archived materials – formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens, and provides new understanding of the complexity of the genomic landscape that can be identified through high-resolution technologies.

“This research, along with other recent findings, illustrates the daunting molecular diversity of large B-cell lymphoma,” said Andre Goy, M.D. “Our ability to better understand the differences among genomic profiles of lymphoma patients is changing the future practice of oncology; such technology in the hands of oncologists allows them to better determine the best therapy for an individual patient. Precision medicine is here and it is just the beginning of an amazing evolution in patient care!”

Researchers from John Theurer Cancer Center’s Department of Pathology and Department of Lymphoma, in collaboration with Foundation Medicine, Inc., Cambridge, MA, conducted this research.

In this study, an early version of Foundation Medicine’s targeted sequencing assay FoundationOne™ Heme, a fully informative genomic profile for hematologic cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma), as well as many sarcomas and pediatric cancers, was used to analyze tumor samples. FoundationOne Heme is designed to provide physicians with clinically actionable information to guide treatment options for patients based on the genomic profile of their cancer.

“These data demonstrate the potential clinical utility of FoundationOne Heme and represent an important step forward in advancing patient care and enabling precision medicine for patients with large B-cell lymphoma,” said Vincent Miller M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Foundation Medicine.

Authors from John Theurer Cancer Center include Dr. Andre Goy, Dr. Andrew L. Pecora, Dr. Anthony R. Mato, Dr. Tatyana Feldman, Dr. Pritish K. Bhattacharyya, Dr. Kar Fai Chow and Ewelina Protomastro.

“As one of the premier Lymphoma and Pathology programs in the nation, we are committed to being at the forefront of cutting-edge research and treatment,” said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E., Chief Innovations Officer, Professor and Vice President of Cancer Services, John Theurer Cancer Center and President of Regional Cancer Care Associates. “Discoveries like these highlight the strength of our research team and our commitment to advancing science that holds the promise of new hope for patients.”

About John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is among the nation’s top 50 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals for cancer – the only ranked in New Jersey with this designation. It is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, preventive care, as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer.

Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. The 14 specialized divisions feature a team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. John Theurer Cancer Center provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, state of the art technology, access to clinical trials, compassionate care and medical expertise—all under one roof. Physicians at John Theurer Cancer Center are members of Regional Cancer Care Associates one of the nation’s largest professional hematology/oncology groups. For more information please visit

About Regional Cancer Care Associates

Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA), one of the largest oncology physician networks in the US, is transforming oncology care by ensuring patients and their caregivers are an active part of the treatment team in all aspects of the management of their disease in a way that is life-enriching and respectful.

Regional Cancer Care Associates extends across New Jersey with more than 90 cancer care specialists, growing to include more than 100, and is supported by 700 employees at 27 care delivery sites, providing care to more than 20,000 new patients annually and over 230,000 existing patients. RCCA takes responsibility to ensure access to the highest quality, compassionate and cutting-edge cancer care for its patients while controlling the cost of this care. For more information visit:


John Theurer Cancer Center
Jon Byington, 212-601-8208

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