Analysis of 52 Genes Can Accurately Predict IPF Mortality, Study Shows

Analysis of 52 Genes Can Accurately Predict IPF Mortality, Study Shows

An evaluation of 52 gene profiles in blood samples can help predict the clinical outcome of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), finds a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. If confirmed in future studies, this gene expression profile evaluation could improve currently used outcome measures, as well as IPF patient care.

IPF is a progressive and deadly disease whose only cure is lung transplant. Without one, patients survive three to four years on average. Given its severity, an accurate and rapid diagnosis is crucial to prompt, adequate care.

An evaluation of clinical parameters such as forced vital capacity that are indicative of lung function can help identify the patient’s disease stage. Yet such measures usually don’t predict a patient’s outcome accurately.

In a previous study, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh identified 52 genes that could potentially predict transplant-free survival in patients with IPF. Of the 52-gene panel, only four genes were validated, and only in a small group of patients.

In the new study, “Validation of a 52-gene risk profile for outcome prediction in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: an international, multicentre, cohort study,” the team — collaborating with U.S., British and German researchers — evaluated the validity of all 52 genes as outcome predictive biomarkers for IPF patients.

The team tested the 52-gene panel in a total of 425 blood samples collected from IPF patients from six independent cohorts. Based on the levels of each gene, researchers classified patients as low and high risk for IPF mortality.

Overall, they found that the 52-gene risk profile was able to accurately predict individual patient survival in all the groups they analyzed.

“IPF is known to have a variable and unpredictable course,” Dr. José Herazo-Maya, assistant professor of medicine at Yale and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “Therefore we were so impressed that the results were validated in all six cohorts.”

When combined with currently used clinical measurements including the “gender, age and physiology” index, the gene panel improved its accuracy in predicting mortality. In addition, the risk profile worsened as the disease progresses and improved in patients receiving U.S. government-approved therapies. These results further confirmed the outcome predictive accuracy of the 52-gene signature.

“If additional studies confirm the treatment effect we observed, shifts in the 52-gene risk profile could eventually be used to indicate response to therapy, and allow more efficient drug trial designs and disease management plans,” said Dr. Naftali Kaminski, Yale professor of medicine and principal investigator, and the study’s senior author.


  1. Dwana Stillwell says:

    My husband was diagnosed in January 2015 with IPF.
    He has been on Esbriet since June 2015.
    He would love to be on a clinical trial to determine his mortality rate. Thus far, the Esbriet seems to be working well.

  2. Gary Ford says:

    Sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis, but he is on a good drug, that for me had only minor side effects and gave me another 3 years before I had to be transplanted. Once he is put on the transplant list, there will be plenty of “opportunities” to be part of the many clinical trials there are for IPF. I took part in at 6 of them… Every day breathing is a good day!
    Warmest regards,

    • Risa Sullivan says:

      Is it better to be on a transplant list to get more access to studies? I probably wouldn’t want one but I like to increase my chances of finding a better outcome for my disease.

      • Gary Ford says:

        Risa: Sorry to say, with IPF, currently there is no better outcome from this disease than a lung transplant…all the statistics say, when diagnosed, within 3-4 years the outcome will be death…yes some will go longer, but then there are others that die earlier…only a lung transplant will significantly prolong your life, what better outcome is that? Most of the studies are done on the IPF patient’s “diseased” lungs, but still need a consent to do so. Warmest regards…

  3. Risa Sullivan says:

    When I read a lot about these type of studies, the one thing that always goes through my mind is will this be available in time for me. How do you access when these advances will be available (would be nice to see this as a part of these articles, even if it isn’t expected for a long while).

  4. Gary Ford says:

    Risa: Keep informed by reading articles and blogs to see where research is heading, but…there is always a “but”…it will take time and a lot of money…for example my respirologist told me about Esbriet in Jan ’14 but it took me until Sep ’17 to get the drug…thanks to government bureaucracy…but your specialist is another valuable resource to learning. I was amazed to that 56% of patients felt they were not given enough information about the disease…so ask, keep on asking till you get an answer. I, for one, am very positive about some of the newer research modalities they are investigating…such as a stem cell study on IPF infected rats that were 100% cured!…but we are not rats! The fight for the cure is out there…we just haven’t found it yet.
    Warmest regards,

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