A malignant signature has been identified which could help doctors work out which types of cancer treatment are likely to be successful on which people.
The research, carried out at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, indicated that the presence of a receptor on certain types of cancerous tumours could tell them whether the anti-cancer drug dasatinib will work.
Dr David Cheresh, vice-chair of pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Moores facility, claimed that this means people could be treated by looking at their sensitivity to the treatment, rather than just according to their tumour type.
"These results could enable us to identify the subpopulation of cancer patients who are likely to respond to treatment with dasatinib," said Dr Cheresh.
In the study, the receptor in question, called integrin alpha-v beta-3, activates an enzyme named src-kinase, which helps cancerous tumour cells develop in the body and become more hostile.
The report is published in the Nature Medicine journal, which is published by Nature Publishing Group.