New Immune-System-Based Biomarker Set from Europe May Be Used in Blood Test for Early Detection of Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer globally and the second most common cause of cancer deaths. The chance of a cure is high if the cancer is detected early enough, but early detection is not a given. Researchers from VIB and KU Leuven - together with various European oncology centers, including UZ Leuven - have identified bio-markers that can be incorporated in a new diagnostic test. This should make it possible to detect colorectal cancer at an early stage using a simple blood test. The results were published online on March xx, 2015 in Gut in an article titled “Tumour-Educated Circulating Monocytes Are Powerful Candidate Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Disease Follow-Up of Colorectal Cancer.” Dr. Max Mazzone (VIB/KU Leuven) commented: “This research demonstrates how important it is to gain a thorough understanding of the role of our immune system in cancer. In this case, this knowledge will hopefully result in a new, more sensitive test to detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, so that more patients can be cured. I hope that we can soon find an industrial partner to help us achieve the following step, which is the development of the test.” In 2012, a total of 1.4 million people worldwide were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, this figure is expected to increase to 2.4 million by 2035. This is a condition that affects a growing number of people each year. Colorectal cancer is very treatable if it is detected at an early stage, with approximately 95% chance of a cure. If detected at a late stage, however, the chance of surviving 5 years after diagnosis is less than 10 %. Therefore, it is very important to be able to detect the disease in an early stage. And therein lies the rub.
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