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Proteins May Predict Spread of Colon Cancer

Discovery could lead to blood test that would aid prevention efforts, scientist says

MONDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Two proteins that might serve as biomarkers for predicting the spread of colon cancer have been identified by Chinese scientists.

They compared proteins produced by primary and metastatic colon cancer cells and found that two proteins occurred at much higher levels in the metastatic cancer cells than in the primary cancer cells.

Blood tests to check for the two proteins could help predict the spread of colon cancer, leading to earlier intervention and treatment, said researcher Maode Lai and colleagues.

The study was published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

In 2009, about 150,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were diagnosed in the United States, and nearly 50,000 people died of the diseases, according to the American Cancer Society. Surgery is the main method of treating colon cancer, but half of those who have surgery experience a recurrence of the cancer within five years because it has spread to other parts of the body, the researchers said.

Metastatic colon cancer can be difficult to detect. The researchers said that no reliable biomarkers for predicting the spread of colon cancer currently exist.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about colon and rectal cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, March 3, 2010

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