Detect Mulitple Types of Epithelial Tumors and Determine Cancer Sage with ONe Biomarker


ZEB1 expression levels predict metastatic potential


Market Need


Clinicians and pathologists need to determine the stage of cancer progression in a patient to determine the appropriate course of treatment. Currently, there are two methods to determine the stage of a patient’s cancer. The first involves taking a biopsy of the suspected tissue mass, which is stained. Based on the staining results, a pathologist estimates the stage of cancer. The second method is a blood test that measures levels of biomarkers for specific types of cancer. The first method relies on the expertise of a pathologist while the second requires a known biomarker associated with the cancer type that the patient specifically has. Both these existing methods have disadvantages regarding their accuracy and reliability.


Technology Overview


Research by Dr. Tom Genetta found that elevated expression levels of ZEB1 mRNA and increased amounts of ZEB1 protein in the nucleus are strongly predictive of the metastatic potential of a tumor. Antibodies against ZEB1 can be used to determine its levels and subcellular location, and PCR-based methodologies can be used to detect ZEB1 mRNA levels. Further, epithelial tumors may also be treated via the ZEB1 pathway. Tumor cells that are depleted of ZEB1 have been shown to increase susceptibility to radiation-induced apoptosis due to the connection of this pathway to p53 and p53-related pathways.



•       Use of one biomarker to detect multiple types of epithelial tumors

•       Objective test to determine the stage of cancer from a biopsy

•       Negligible false positives


•       An assay that measures the level of ZEB1 in a tumor sample to detect tumor aggressiveness

•       Treatment for epithelial tumors in lung, stomach, prostate, colon, ovary, breast, uterus, and skin


Stage of Development: Proof-of-concept has been demonstrated in several different epithelial tumor types (e.g., breast, prostate, and uterine cancers).


Case ID:
Web Published:
Patent Information:
Title Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date
Methods and Compositions Useful for Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment of Cancers and Tumors United States 10/232,561 7,078,180 8/30/2002 7/18/2006
For Information, Contact:
Camille Jolly-Tornetta
Assistant Director
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Thomas Genetta
Epithelial Tumors