A Crystal Ball for Colon Cancer?

Gene test may be able to predict return of colon cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A genetic test may be able to identify those with stage II colon cancer who face a higher risk of recurrence, according to new research from Germany.

The finding could help physicians decide who may need follow-up treatment following surgery and who might not.

Researchers surveyed the entire human genome to identify 18 genes that are linked to the risk of a recurrence in stage II colon-cancer patients. A total of 233 patients who had already undergone surgery for stage II or stage III colon cancer submitted to a test known as ColoPrint. The patients were followed for eight years on average.

The scientists found 5 percent of patients with low risk of recurrence (according to the ColoPrint test) of stage II cancer had a recurrence within five years, whereas 20 percent of those who were classified high-risk by ColoPrint experienced recurrence.

Study author Dr. Robert Rosenberg, a surgeon and an assistant professor at University Hospital, Technical University, in Munich, said the study confirms ColoPrint "facilitates the identification of patients who might not need additional therapy."

Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancers rank as the third most common cancer diagnosed in both American men and women, according to the National Cancer Society. A total of 102,900 new cases of colon cancer (49,470 in men and 53,430 in women) were diagnosed in 2010.

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Review Date: 
January 23, 2011
Last Updated:
January 24, 2011