As with many other solid tumours, doctors plan treatment of colon cancer chiefly by staging the tumour, which involves assessing how deep it has infiltrated into the bowel wall and how far the cancer has spread. Generally, if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, chemotherapy is given after surgery to prevent recurrence.
“That approach is not very precise,” said the study’s lead investigator, Dr Arnaud Roth, a medical oncologist and chief of Oncosurgery at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. “Even if the lymph nodes are involved, at least half of those patients won’t ever suffer a relapse and could be spared chemotherapy. However, since there is no good tool to distinguish them from the people who have a high likelihood of relapse, all patients with cancer detected in lymph nodes are treated with chemotherapy.
“New tools are needed to make this distinction and biomarkers are one possibility,” said Roth, who presented a large study on this subject today (Wednesday) at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona.
Since the decoding of the human genome, scientists have increasingly been looking for genes or protein biomarkers consistently over-expressed or under-expressed in cancer tissue to see if those markers can help better determine prognosis and tailor treatment for individual patients.
The study, by a team of European scientists which Roth coordinates, examines in one of the largest patient groups to date a broad panel of candidate biomarkers suspected of playing a role in colon cancer.
“The results are preliminary but extremely encouraging. This study will, we hope, clarify which biomarkers will be clinically useful, which are probably not and which will have the most impact. There have been a lot of studies of limited scope previously, but nothing conclusive,” Roth said.
The researchers examined potentially promising biomarkers in 1,564 samples, preserved as part of a chemotherapy study, of healthy and cancerous colon tissue from patients operated on in more than 368 hospitals in Europe. More than 10 molecular markers were investigated with a high success rate (>90%), demonstrating the method’s feasibility with routinely processed tissue.
“If one of those markers is strongly linked to the reaction to chemotherapy, it might be useful to test in a clinical trial its value in deciding whether to give chemotherapy or not,” Roth said.
“For instance, it’s early in our analysis, but SMAD4 is looking quite good, in that patients with high SMAD4 expression had a significantly better prognosis than those with low expression. It would have to be investigated further, but maybe patients who strongly express the SMAD4 gene don’t need any additional therapy after surgery.
“On the other hand, in this patient population with adjuvant therapy, we found that KRAS, a type of gene called an oncogene that is involved in regulating cell division, has no prognostic value whatsoever – zero. So we think KRAS can be abandoned as a potential prognostic biomarker for colon cancer,” Roth added.
The study was supported by Pfizer Inc.
Catalogue no: 3013, Wednesday 09.00 hrs CET (Room 110)
Emma Ross | alfa
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences