Dr. Durado Brooks, director of the prostate and colorectal cancer division at the American Cancer Society, said "this is one more brick in the wall that is slowly helping us build our knowledge and understanding of how to attack cancer in new and different ways."
"If the findings are corroborated by other investigators, it could lead to testing of tumors to find if those tumors are likely to be resistant to fluorouracil-based chemotherapy," Brooks said.
It could also help identify new targets for treatment, he said.
Brooks thinks other gene mutations also affect how well chemotherapy works. Some genetic testing is done now for this purpose, he said; however, it's too soon to tell whether TFAP2E may be added to those tested, he said.
"This is a long way from moving into clinical practice," Brooks said.
"We need to know a lot more of how this impacts actual patients; all this data is based on looking at things under a microscope as opposed to investigating the impact of treatment in patients, which may turn out to be a little different," he said. "It's not ready to move from the lab bench to the bedside yet."
To learn about colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Matthias P.A. Ebert, M.D., assistant professor, internal medicine,University of Magdeburg, Germany;Durado Brooks, M.D., director, prostate and colorectal cancer division, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Jan. 5, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine
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