Can a simple blood test detect recurrent bowel cancer?

Bowel Cancer Australia

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In what may prove to be a game changer in the early detection of tumour recurrence in bowel cancer patients, researchers from Flinders University have released results from a clinical trial detailing a new blood test targeting tumour DNA, which successfully detected recurrence in bowel cancer patients during remission.

The results indicated the two-gene test was twice as effective as the carcinoembryonic antigens (CEA) monitoring regime currently being used to pick up early recurrence of bowel cancer in patients during remission.

Recurrence occurs in 30 to 40% of individuals undergoing surgical treatment for advanced bowel cancer, typically within the first two to three years after initial diagnosis and treatment.

“We are encouraged by the new research as improved surveillance methods for detecting recurrence are critical to improving patient outcomes, given 40% or more of bowel cancer patients in remission develop recurrence following initial treatment,” said Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins.

The research included 122 cancer survivors post-surgery and found methylated BCAT1 and IKZF1 DNA in the blood of almost 70 per cent of patients with recurrence.

It also found 32.1 per cent of them tested positive for carcinoembryonic antigens (CEA). CEA monitoring is the current standard test for recurrence.

The study will be published in the journal Cancer Medicine later this month.

To find out more about more advanced bowel cancer visit http://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/secondary-bowel-cancer
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