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Markers of gene, protein, or micro-RNA activity predict outcome in prostate and colorectal cancers

Cancer researchers are working toward a future in which each patient's tumor will act like a crystal ball, revealing how oncologists should treat the cancer to obtain the best outcome.

Currently, physicians cannot predict which patients with prostate cancer should receive extra therapy after surgery - or whether some of these patients have an indolent disease that does not even require surgery. Most patients with colorectal cancer have surgery, but some, even at the earliest stages, could benefit from additional treatment - if physicians only knew who. Some of the genes and proteins specific to cancer cells can be used for prognostic purposes, as can the newest type of biomarker, mcro-RNAs, according to studies presented today at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The Serological Markers TIMP-1, PAI-1, MASP-2 and CRP are Independent Predictors of Colorectal Cancer-Specific Death: Abstract No. 5723

Oncologists say it is very difficult to predict which patients with colorectal cancer will be cured by surgery alone - the single treatment most patients receive - and who might benefit from the addition of chemotherapy. Now, however, a Danish research team has found that just four protein biomarkers can predict death from colorectal cancer, independent of the stage or location of the cancer, or the age or gender of the patient.

In this study, blood taken from 654 colorectal cancer patients just before they had surgery was retrospectively analyzed for expression of the proteins. The test was not perfect, but it significantly identified the 308 patients who later died of the disease, some up to nine years later.

"The results show that the outcome of a significant number of patients was correctly identified, independent of stage and location," said the lead author, Hans J. Nielsen, M.D, DMSc., Professor of Surgical Oncology, at Hvidovre University Hospital.

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Source:American Association for Cancer Research


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