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article imageNew marker for bowel cancer

By Tim Sandle     Aug 1, 2013 in Health
A new discovery could play an important role in establishing which bowel cancer patients are most likely to require chemotherapy.
The discovery is based around a protein called FOXO3. Scientists have discovered that patients with low levels of the protein have an increased risk of their cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Such patients are deemed ‘most at risk’ and probably require chemotherapy.
Bowel cancer is a cancer from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). Cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon are often curable with surgery while cancer that has spread widely around the body is usually not curable and management then focuses on extending the person's life via chemotherapy and improving quality of life.
The scientists came to the conclusion about the FOXO3 protein by comparing levels of FOXO3 in tissue samples from patients with different stages of bowel cancer. From this it was established that decreased levels of the protein can be associated with more aggressive forms of the disease.
Having identified this ‘biomarker’, the researchers will continue to search for additional biomarkers to further inform bowel cancer treatment techniques in future. Discussing the next stage, Alexander Mirnezami, co-author and bowel cancer surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said to Cancer Research: "We hope to identify lots of other new biomarkers that can help us adapt treatments based on individual patients' tumour characteristics, as part of a personalized approach to cancer treatment."
The study was undertaken by scientists based at the University of Southampton, in a project part-funded by the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research. The findings have been published in the British Journal of Cancer.
More about Bowel, Bowel cancer, Cancer, biomarker, Surgery
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