Cancer Marker Discovery and Validation


Summary of Invention

The study of circulating tumor cells can yield important biologic and clinical information. Yet, it has been limited by the paucity of specific and sensitive markers. Pre-genomic approaches rely on known tumor-associated phenotypes or genetic aberrations. The present invention features novel methods and compositions for identifying markers of minimum residual disease (MRD), as well as markers of metastatic cells. It also provides methods for detecting MRD and metastatic cells in a subject. It utilizes genome-wide scanning for expressed genes in tumors versus blood and bone marrow and has, i.e. identified a three- marker signature prognostic for overall survival and survival without new metastasis in Ewing family tumors.


  • Monitoring of tumor activity previously undetectable by standard histologic and radiographic techniques
  • Selection of specific and sensitive cancer marker sets for different cancers based on a marker discovery algorithm
  • Accurate quantitation of MRD
  • Prognostic indicators for overall survival
  • Identification of optimal timing for adjuvant therapy in patients
  • Validation studies in various patient cohorts has been achieved

Area of Application

Prognostic/diagnostic methods

Stage of Development

Clinically validated in various patient cohorts. E.g. neuroblastoma, Ewing Family Sarcomas, metastatic breast cancer, osteosarcoma, metastatic prostate cancer etc.

Lead Inventor

Nai-Kong Cheung, MD, PhD, Laboratory Head, Memorial Hospital Research Laboratories, Memorial Sloan Kettering

Patent Information

US National issued: 9,416,422


Cheung IY, et al. (2007) Clin. Cancer Res. Dec 1;13(23):6978-83

Cheung IY, et al. (2007) J. Mol Diagn. Apr;9(2):237-41

Contact Information

Imke Ehlers, PhD, CLP
Associate Director, Technology Management
Tel: 646-457-7626

Stage of Development

Clinical development