Scientists in China are reporting discovery of two proteins present in the blood of people with colon cancer that may serve as the potential biomarkers for accurately predicting whether the disease will spread.
Their study is in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research.
Maode Lai and colleagues note that in 2008, 150,000 new cases of colon cancer and over 50,000 deaths from the disease occurred in the United States alone. Surgery is the main method of treating the disease. However, half of colon cancer patients undergoing surgery develop a recurrence of the disease within 5 years due to its spread, or metastasis, to other parts of the body. The spread of colon cancer can be difficult to detect and there are currently no reliable chemical markers in the body for predicting its spread, the scientists say.
In an effort to identify useful biomarkers for tracking the spread of colon cancer, the scientists compared proteins produced by primary, or original, tumor cells to those of metastasized cells came from a single individual with colon cancer. They identified two proteins that occurred at significantly higher levels in the metastatic cells than in the primary cancer cells. The two proteins could serve as potential biomarkers in a blood test for predicting the spread of colon cancer, allowing earlier intervention and treatment, the scientists say.
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