Screening tool can detect colorectal cancer from a small blood sample

Sep 29, 2010

A new microRNA (miRNA) screening assay detected the majority of early-stage colorectal cancers with good specificity and sensitivity.

"Our test has the potential to be safe, cheap, robust, accurate and of little or no inconvenience to the individual, and could, therefore, easily be integrated into national programs as part of an annual checkup," said Søren Jensby Nielsen, Ph.D., scientific manager, Diagnostic Product Development, Exiqon A/S.

Nielsen presented the results at the Fourth AACR International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, held here.

"We envision that this type of miRNA profile, once developed and marketed as a screening kit, can be used to screen entire populations in order to facilitate a focused selection of individuals who should undergo colonoscopy," Nielsen said.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the western world. If diagnosed early, the disease can usually be cured with surgery; however, the prognosis for late-stage cancer is grim. Although several early-detection screening methods are available, "current estimates suggest that less than half of Americans over the age of 50 receive adequate colorectal cancer screening," Nielsen said.

Nielsen's team developed a state of the art screening method based on the miRCURY LNA Universal RT PCR. With it, they profiled blood plasma samples collected from patients with early, resectable (Stage II) colorectal cancer and sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers.

The findings suggested that it is possible to distinguish early-stage colorectal cancer from healthy subjects with good sensitivity and specificity from a single plasma sample — less than 1 mL of blood. Nielsen and colleagues are starting a large, prospective clinical trial in symptomatic individuals undergoing colonoscopy to prospectively validate their screening test.

Although Nielsen's team focused on colorectal cancer screening, their results indicated the technology has broader applicability. They have used the technology in a project to detect early stage colorectal patients who are likely to experience disease recurrence and, therefore, are candidates for more aggressive adjuvant chemotherapy.

Explore further: Study finds new potential melanoma drug target

Related Stories

Colorectal cancer screening in Canada is cost-effective

Jul 12, 2010

Colorectal cancer screening is cost-effective and offers the best value for provincial health ministries in Canada, states an article in CMAJ. A high sensitivity fecal test, such as the fecal immunochemical test, or colono ...

Family history and screening for colorectal cancer

Jun 09, 2008

A new study indicates that African Americans with a family history of colorectal cancer are less likely to be screened than African Americans at average risk for the disease. There is also some evidence to indicate that AA ...

Recommended for you

Study finds new potential melanoma drug target

23 hours ago

A new treatment for melanoma could be on the horizon, thanks to a finding by a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led team. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Clinical Ca ...

Surgery for terminal cancer patients still common

23 hours ago

The number of surgeries performed on terminally ill cancer patients has not dropped in recent years, despite more attention to the importance of less invasive care for these patients to relieve symptoms and ...

Study provides comprehensive look at brain cancer treatments

May 01, 2015

Led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and UC San Francisco (UCSF), a comprehensive genetic review of treatment strategies for glioblastoma brain tumors was published today in the Oxford University Press ...

How artificial tanning can lead to melanoma

May 01, 2015

Young women may be up on the latest fashions and trends as they prepare for prom season. But what many don't know is that the tan that looks oh-so-good with their dress may be the first step toward skin cancer.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.