SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Veracyte, Inc. (Nasdaq: VCYT) announced today that new data from the Afirma® Xpression Atlas suggest that the majority of newly diagnosed medullary thyroid cancers (MTC) are associated with variants from three genes. The findings shed new light on the genomic underpinning of this rare, but aggressive, form of thyroid cancer and were presented today at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, which is being held March 23-26 in New Orleans.
“Our findings are important because they help us better understand the genomic drivers of medullary thyroid cancer,” said Steven G. Waguespack, M.D., professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who presented the new data in a guided poster session. “Moreover, this information, derived from a fine needle aspiration biopsy specimen, may help guide physicians in the preoperative evaluation, surgical planning and targeted therapy selection for patients diagnosed with this disease.”
For the study, researchers evaluated 77 preoperative fine needle aspiration biopsies from thyroid nodules that were positive for MTC based on Afirma testing and which spanned a range of Bethesda System cytology classification categories (III-VI). All cases were subsequently evaluated with the Xpression Atlas, which uses RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing to detect 761 variants and 130 fusions in 511 genes that are associated with thyroid cancer. The scientists found that among the MTC cases, 55.8 percent harbored a RET variant, 9.1 percent included a KRAS variant, 7.8 percent contained an HRAS variant (some of which contained more than one of these gene alterations), while 2.6 percent of cases possessed fusions and 26.0 percent included no gene variants or fusions.
“As more is understood about the genomic makeup of thyroid cancer biology, physicians may be able to further refine their treatment plans for patients using ever-more-granular genomic information,” said Giulia C. Kennedy, Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer at Veracyte. “We believe that our Afirma offering – based on our whole-transcriptome sequencing platform – is well-positioned to serve the needs of physicians in the expanding era of precision medicine.”
The Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier (GSC) and Xpression Atlas provide physicians with a comprehensive solution for a complex landscape in thyroid nodule diagnosis. The Afirma GSC was developed with RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing and machine learning and helps identify patients with benign thyroid nodules among those with indeterminate cytopathology results in order to help patients avoid unnecessary diagnostic thyroid surgery. The Afirma Xpression Atlas provides physicians with genomic alteration content from the same fine needle aspiration samples that are used in Afirma GSC testing and may help physicians decide with greater confidence on the surgical or therapeutic pathway for their patients. The Afirma Xpression Atlas includes 761 DNA variants and 130 RNA fusion partners in over 500 genes that are associated with thyroid cancer.
Veracyte (Nasdaq: VCYT) is a leading genomic diagnostics company that improves patient care by providing trustworthy and actionable answers to challenging clinical questions. The company's products uniquely combine advanced genomic technology, clinical science and machine learning to provide answers that give physicians and patients a clear path forward, informing both diagnosis and treatment decisions without the need for costly, risky surgeries that are often unnecessary. Since its founding in 2008, Veracyte has commercialized three genomic tests, which are transforming the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, lung cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Veracyte is based in South San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.veracyte.com and follow the company on Twitter (@veracyte).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "expect," "believe," "should," "may," "will" and similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, the ability of Veracyte’s Afirma Xpression Atlas to help characterize medullary thyroid cancer, the ability of Veracyte’s Afirma GSC to identify Hürthle cells, the expected impacts of Veracyte’s collaboration with Johnson & Johnson in developing interventions for lung cancer, on Veracyte’s financial and operating results, on the timing of the commercialization of the Percepta classifier, and on the size of Veracyte’s addressable market. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance, but are based only on our current beliefs, expectations and assumptions. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from our predictions, and include, but are not limited to: our ability to achieve milestones under the collaboration agreement with Johnson & Johnson; our ability to achieve and maintain Medicare coverage for our tests; the benefits of our tests and the applicability of clinical results to actual outcomes; the laws and regulations applicable to our business, including potential regulation by the Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory bodies; our ability to successfully achieve and maintain adoption of and reimbursement for our products; the amount by which use of our products are able to reduce invasive procedures and misdiagnosis, and reduce healthcare costs; the occurrence and outcomes of clinical studies; and other risks set forth in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and Veracyte specifically disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements or reasons why actual results might differ, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
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