Canadian-led study identifies which colon cancer patients benefit from chemotherapy
New insight is important step forward in personalized cancer care
A new Canadian-led study in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that a simple genetic test can determine if chemotherapy will be effective in treating a patient’s colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in North America.
The study, led by doctors and researchers from Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital, examined 570 tissue samples from colon cancer patients. Colon cancer, which will kill an estimated 8,300 Canadians this year, is usually treated by a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
The study determined that patients with a specific mutation in their tumor, called high-frequency microsatellite instability, did not benefit from chemotherapy, which can be a very difficult treatment with significant unpleasant side effects. The study’s findings represent a significant step forward in providing individualized treatment plans for colon cancer patients.
"This study shows that the usual type of chemotherapy is effective for about 83 per cent of colon cancer patients," said lead author Dr. Steven Gallinger, a surgical oncologist at Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, as well as Professor of Surgery at University of Toronto. "Yet, for nearly 17 per cent of colon cancer patients, the traditional chemotherapy treatment is not helpful, and may even be harmful."
The study, which also involved doctors and researchers from the United States and France, shows that further investigation is needed to provide alternatives for these patients, such as new drugs that are effective on tumors with high-frequency microsatellite instability.
Testing for this genetic mutation could easily become a regular routine during diagnosis, with the results being used to direct the rational use of chemotherapy in colon cancer.
"Undergoing chemotherapy is not an easy decision. Side effects can include sore throat and mouth, tiredness, increased risk of infection, and in a small number of cases, even serious life-threatening illness," said Dr. Malcolm Moore, a Princess Margaret Hospital medical oncologist involved in the study. "If we can select the patients most likely to benefit from therapy, we can restrict therapy to that population and spare the remaining patients the trauma of that type of treatment."
Vince Rice | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...