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
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research