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ASCO: CRC Detection, Treatment Advances Presented

Blood test detects CRC; chemo regimen may improve stage III disease-free survival

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Early colorectal cancer (CRC) and adenomas may be detected by a simple blood test. In addition, a newer chemotherapy regimen may be superior to standard treatment in patients with stage III colon cancer, according to two studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from Jan. 22 to 24 in Orlando, Fla.

In one study, Sarah Kraus, Ph.D., of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, and colleagues measured blood levels of the tumor-promoting CD24 protein in 150 patients undergoing colonoscopy. They found that the test had a sensitivity and specificity of 92.3 percent for detecting CRC, and a sensitivity of 84.2 percent and specificity of 89.2 percent for detecting adenomas.

In a second study, Daniel G. Haller, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and a colleague randomly assigned 1,886 patients with stage III colon cancer to receive either capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX) or standard 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin (5-FU/LV) chemotherapy following surgery. They found that three-year disease-free survival was significantly higher in the XELOX group than in the 5-FU/LV group (71 versus 67 percent), and that XELOX's efficacy was maintained in patients over the age of 70 years.

"This blood test is the first of its kind to be able to detect adenomas," Kraus and colleagues conclude. "It can also successfully distinguish CRC from healthy subjects. CD24 may serve as a new potential and promising blood biomarker for the early detection and CRC surveillance."

Several authors of the second study reported financial relationships with Sanofi-Aventis and Hoffmann-La Roche.

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