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Blood Marker Determines Who Will Respond to Cancer Drug

Blood Marker Determines Who Will Respond to Cancer Drug
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By    |   Friday, 13 May 2016 11:53 AM



Cancer patients often take drugs for their disease that bring miserable side effects and skyrocketing medical bills, but leave the cancer untouched. For patients with colorectal cancer, however, scientists have found a marker in a blood test that will determine which patients will respond to the drug cetuximab.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, excluding skin cancers. The ACS estimates that there will be 95,270 new cases of colon cancer and 39,220 new cases of rectal cancer in 2016. According to estimates, more than 40,000 will die.

The new study explains one of the reasons why cetuximab was useless in up to half of incurable colorectal cancer patients, says principal investigator Dr. Geoffrey Liu, clinician-scientist at Canada's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

"Our research discovered that the blood marker FCGR2A identifies a new group of patients that will benefit from taking cetuximab, says Dr. Liu. "With this finding, we believe we are now on the way to move it into the clinical setting to provide patients targeted, effective treatment.

"In a group of metastatic colorectal cancer patients who were running out of treatment options, the previous clinical trial determined that cetuximab was most effective in a certain group of patients with tumors carrying a RAS mutation. But it certainly didn't work for everyone and so the race was on to find out how to better identify which patients would benefit from this drug," he said.

"Our finding, which resulted from analyzing archived tumor and normal tissue samples from some of the 572 patients enrolled in that trial, further refines this quest and defines another subset of patients who will respond to the drug.

"We need to find other ways to personalize cancer medicine for people with colorectal disease, keeping in mind that cetuximab is an expensive drug and can have side effects.

"So instead of looking at aspects in the tumor, which is where RAS mutations show up, we looked at certain things in the blood and normal tissues that we could measure for heritable genetic variations."

The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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Cancer patients often take drugs for their disease that bring miserable side effects and skyrocketing medical bills, but leave the cancer untouched. For patients with colorectal cancer, however, scientists have found a...
blood, marker, determines, respond, cancer, drug, cetuximab
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2016-53-13
Friday, 13 May 2016 11:53 AM
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