Bowel cancer test could offer patients a better chance of survival
A more accurate way of diagnosing which bowel cancers are likely to spread, and thus which patients could benefit most from chemotherapy, has been discovered by scientists. Backed by AICR (Association for International Cancer Research), Professor Chris Hutchison of Durham University and his team, in collaboration with researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, studied the tissue samples from 700 bowel cancer patients and looked at their progress. They found that those with the protein Lamin A in the tumour were far more likely to die from the disease.
Professor Hutchison is hopeful that if this marker is detected early, offering chemotherapy, in addition to the surgery normally carried out, will give patients a greater chance of survival. He said: “Currently hospitals use a standard test to work out how far the cancer has progressed so identifying a more precise indicator is an exciting advance. We will now carry out more work which we hope will enable us develop a tool for widespread use by health services.”
Dr Mark Matfield, AICR’s Scientific Adviser said: "This is one of the most common types of cancer and current treatments are able to save only about half of the patients. There is, therefore, a desperate need for more effective treatments for bowel cancer. This discovery may show us how to identify which cancers need which treatments and in so doing help save a lot of lives."