Genetic signature may predict recurrence in colon cancer patients

RARITAN, NJ, APRIL 29, 2004 A new prognostic marker has shown potential to predict recurrence in certain colon cancer patients, according to a study published in the May 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In the study, a team of researchers led by Veridex, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, used gene expression profiling to identify the new marker a 23-gene signature which may predict disease recurrence in patients initially diagnosed with Dukes' B colon cancer.

The study marks the first significant application of genomics in searching for molecular markers for colon cancer prognosis and is also the subject of an editorial in the Journal.

While the standard of care for patients with Dukes' B, or Stage II, colon cancer surgical resection of the diseased tissue is considered highly effective, up to 20-30 percent of these patients can later develop recurrence and die from the disease. Patients classified as Dukes' B are thought to only have local disease, however, the incidence of relapse indicates existence of undetected disseminated disease and points to the need for more accurate methods for predicting recurrence.

"The key to increasing survival of these patients lies in the ability to accurately identify which of them is at high risk of relapse," says David Atkins, Ph.D., General Manager, Molecular Diagnostics for Veridex and principal investigator on the study. "The hypothesis that we're testing is that all of the information we need to characterize the disease can be found in the primary tumor."

The study involved the analysis of RNA samples from banked tumors from 74 Dukes' B colon cancer patients. Each sample was analyzed using several highly parallel methods for analysis of gene expression. Thirty-one of these patients developed tumor relapse in less than three years, while 43 patients remained disease-free for more than three years after surgery. Armed with this information, two approaches were u

Contact: Stephanie Hughes Koenig
Gabbe Group

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