Findings published in this months issue of Clinical Cancer Research and featured on the journals cover, may bring researchers one-step closer to the development of tumor markers to detect colon cancer early, before it has had a chance to spread and when it is easier to cure, say researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). These tumor markers – elevated levels of proteins or other substances in the blood, urine or tissue that indicate the presence of cancer – also could help identify which patients with colon cancer are more likely to develop recurrent disease.
In the study, Robert Getzenberg, Ph.D., senior author and associate professor of urology, pathology and pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh and co-director, Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program, UPCI and colleagues analyzed cancerous tissue resulting from colon cancer that had spread to the liver – the most common site for colon cancer to recur – and found three proteins present in the diseased liver tissue that were not present in normal liver tissue. The findings add to previous findings published earlier this year in the journal Cancer Research in which the same researchers identified four different proteins present in colon cancer tumor samples that were not found in normal colon tissue.
"Identifying a specific and sensitive tumor marker that would allow reliable early detection of colon cancer and predict the potential for the cancer to spread or recur would be of great benefit to patients," said Dr. Getzenberg. "Early diagnosis of recurrent colon cancer is critical to effective treatment of the disease, however, colon cancer metastases are very difficult to pick up early. Thirty-five to 40 percent of all patients with colon cancer have recurrent disease and the majority of these patients cannot be cured and will eventually die."
Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
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