Future colorectal cancer treatments determined by blood test

To lighten the treatment of patients suffering from colorectal cancer, an unprecedented experiment will be carried out in the United Kingdom.

Nowadays, colorectal cancer remains one of the most widespread in France. The latter can affect both men and women, but it remains deadly. Indeed, it is the second cancer that causes the most deaths in France after breast cancer. However, if diagnosed in time, remission occurs in 9 out of 10 cases.

To treat colorectal cancer, patients must first undergo surgery. But this was usually accompanied by chemotherapy afterwards. However, British researchers believe that the latter would not be necessary. According to their hypothesis, surgery alone would kill cancer cells.

To prove it, a 3-year experiment will soon be set up. This will involve performing blood tests on sick patients after the operation. The objective is to offer better support and treatment adapted to each case.

“Useless” chemotherapy in the vast majority of cases

The project was presented in detail in an article published in the English newspaper The Independent. In it, the researchers explain that the purpose of the blood test is to finding remnants of tumor genetic material in the blood sick people.

Indeed, when a patient suffers from colorectal cancer, circulating tumor DNA circulates in his blood. Its presence indicates that the cancer is not completely cured. Moreover, this element of the tumor’s genetic heritage is undetectable on imaging. Fact, using a blood test would make detection easier but also would lighten the treatment sick people.

Currently, chemotherapy is prescribed to many patients after surgery. But the blood test could help to see if the circulating tumor DNA is still present or not. Since the effects of chemotherapy are very heavy, the blood test would make convalescence and remission easier for a large part of the patients.

It would also help to reduce medical costs caused by chemotherapy.

A new way to treat colorectal cancer if the trial is conclusive

Clinical trials have already started in the UK. However, these will last for three years. Via these tests but also the data collected, the specialists want to test the effectiveness of this process. But above all, they want to compare the survival rates of the two scenarios. This will help to see if the chemotherapy helps to increase the longevity of the patients or if the blood test is just as effective.

Moreover, the researchers also wish use this technique in the treatment of other cancers. Currently, similar trials are underway but involve patients operated on for breast cancer and lung cancer.

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