Cancer profiling

June 8, 2012

The Column

The Column, The Column-06-08-2012, Volume 8, Issue 10
Page Number: 11

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world. Currently, it is staged preoperatively by radiographic tests, and postoperatively by pathological evaluation of available surgical specimens. However, present staging methods do not accurately identify occult metastases, which have a direct affect on clinical management.

A team of scientists has performed an experiment to distinguish stages of colorectal cancer.1 Sera from 103 patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma were analysed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy.

The serum metabolomic profile was found to change substantially with metastasis, while the site of disease also appeared to affect the pattern of circulating metabolites. The team concluded that this novel observation could be of value in enhancing staging accuracy and selecting patients for treatment, but that additional study is ultimately required. Early identification of metastases isolated to the liver may mean surgery is an option, while more widely disseminated disease could be treated with palliative chemotherapy.

1. Oliver F. Bathe et al.,Genome Medicine4(42), doi: 10.1186gm341 (2012).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.