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Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 219-226

Cancer of unknown primary: Opportunities and challenges


Department of Medical Oncology, Kidwai Cancer Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vikas Asati
Room No. 214, PG Men's Hostel, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Near NIMHANS, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmpo.ijmpo_91_17

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Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is defined as histologically proven metastatic tumors whose primary site cannot be identified during pretreatment evaluation. Among all malignancies, 3%–5% remained as CUP even after the extensive radiological and pathological workup. Immunohistochemistry and molecular gene expression tumor profiling are being utilized to predict the tissue of origin. Unfortunately, the survival of these patients remains poor (6–9 months) except in 20% of patients who belong to a favorable subset (12–36 months). There is a need to understand the basic biology and to identify the molecular pathways which can be targeted with small molecules. This article reviews our current approach as well as treatment evolution occurred in the past three decades.


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