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Molecular profiling can accurately predict survival in colon cancer patients
Date:9/25/2007

ver three times (3.2) more likely to develop metastases than the patients in the good outcome group. This method of identifying poor outcome patients was better at predicting which patients should have adjuvant chemotherapy than the commonly-used method that follows recommendations from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The researchers checked their findings against information from another set of colon cancer patients that had been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2005. Prof Tollenaar said: In these stage II colon cancer patients, the five-year metastasis-free survival prediction was confirmed; for the good outcome group, five-year survival was 90% and for the poor outcome group it was 40%. This was important validation of our own results.

From the genome-wide analysis, the researchers identified a subset of 100 genes that were able to predict outcome equally as well as the full-genome molecular expression profile. Many of these genes are know to regulate the Epithelial-Mesenchymal transition (EMT) a programme of cell development that is thought to be a driving force behind the development of metastases in colorectal cancer.

Prof Tollenaar said that although his research predicted outcome of disease in patients who had not received adjuvant chemotherapy, more work would need to be done to identify the molecular profile for those patients who would actually benefit from chemotherapy.

Before the results of this research could start to be used in the clinic, Prof Tollenaar said two things needed to happen: Current, ongoing validation studies required to confirm our findings have to be completed, and the test needs to be developed into a robust diagnostic device. The molecular profiling company Agendia BV of Amsterdam has taken this up and it is likely to be available in early 2008.

As to whether these findings would save large numbers of colon cancer patients from unnecessary chemotherapy,
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
34-932-308-834
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference
Source:Eurekalert

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