Cambridge – Patients with solid tumours bearing different cancer cell types might have a worse prognosis than those with homogeneous tumours, British researchers suggest (Brit. J. Cancer, 19th January). In tissue samples taken from patients with advanced cervical cancer, the team headed by James Brenton at Cambridge University found that tumour heterogeneity led to worse outcomes. CHG analyses up to 5 years post-treatment showed that patients without pre-existing tumour cell heterogeneity lived longer, and that heterogeneity seems to increase the probability for selection of tumour cells that were therapy-resistant right before initiation of radiochemotherapy. Out of ten patients, two showed initial tumour cell heterogeneity and survival of one therapy-resistant tumour cell type after treatment. The results still need to be confimed by larger studies.