Discovery in fight against bowel cancer

New research has discovered how a genomic approach to understanding bowel (colorectal) cancer could improve the prognosis and quality of life for patients.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with 41,200 people newly diagnosed each year. A number of treatment options are available but mortality rates remain high, with bowel cancer the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds have made a significant advance in the treatment of bowel cancer. The study, which has been published in the journal Nature Communications, has shown how defining precise gene signatures within bowel cancer cells can allow us to develop novel prognostic and predictive markers for bowel cancer and help to drive personalised medicine approaches.

Full story via ScienceDaily

Link to the research:  Dunne, P.D. et al. Cancer-cell intrinsic gene expression signatures overcome intratumoural heterogeneity bias in colorectal cancer patient classification. Nature Communications, 2017

Chance of colon cancer recurrence nearly cut in half in people who eat nuts

Something as simple as eating tree nuts may make a difference in the long-term survival of patients with colon cancer, a new study concludes.American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) | ScienceDaily | 18th May 2017

pistachio-1098173_1920

An observational study of 826 patients with stage III colon cancer showed that those who consumed two ounces or more of nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

A secondary analysis revealed the benefit of nut consumption was limited to tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. These findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Read more at ScienceDaily

A watch-and-wait approach for locally advanced rectal cancer

Dossa, F. et al. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology | Published online: 4 May 2017

search-908892_960_720

Background: A watch-and-wait approach for patients with clinical complete response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation could avoid the morbidity of conventional surgery for rectal cancer. However, the safety of this approach is unclear. We synthesised the evidence for watch-and-wait as a treatment for rectal cancer.

 

Interpretation: Most patients treated by watch-and-wait avoid radical surgery and of those who have regrowth almost all have salvage therapy. Although we detected no significant differences in non-regrowth cancer recurrence or overall survival in patients treated with watch-and-wait versus surgery, few patients have been studied and more prospective studies are needed to confirm long-term safety.

Read the full abstract here

Cost-effectiveness of an exercise programme for patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy

May, A.M. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e012187

2963072255_a214223a7a_z

Image source: Sancho McCann – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Objective: Meta-analyses show that exercise interventions during cancer treatment reduce cancer-related fatigue. However, little is known about the cost-effectiveness of such interventions. Here we aim to assess the cost-effectiveness of the 18-week physical activity during cancer treatment (PACT) intervention for patients with breast and colon cancer. The PACT trial showed beneficial effects for fatigue and physical fitness.

 

Results: For colon cancer, the cost-effectiveness analysis showed beneficial effects of the exercise intervention with incremental costs savings of €4321 and QALY improvements of 0.03. 100% of bootstrap simulations indicated that the intervention is dominant (ie, cheaper and more effective). For breast cancer, the results did not indicate that the exercise intervention was cost-effective. Incremental costs were €2912, and the incremental effect was 0.01 QALY. At a Dutch threshold value of €20 000 per QALY, the probability that the intervention is cost-effective was 2%.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the 18-week exercise programme was cost-effective for colon cancer, but not for breast cancer.

Read the full article here

NICE: All patients with colorectal cancer should be tested for genetic condition

Everyone who has colorectal cancer diagnosed should be tested for an inherited genetic condition called Lynch syndrome, new guidance states | BMJ

nice-guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends microsatellite instability testing or immunohistochemistry to detect abnormalities that may indicate the syndrome.

Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer, has also been linked to an increased risk of developing other cancers including womb, ovarian, and stomach. People with the condition who develop colorectal cancer generally do so at a younger age, usually 40-50.

Testing for the condition helps to identify whether the patient’s family are also at increased risk of cancer so that they can be monitored more closely if needed, says NICE. Where these tests show that a person has a risk of the syndrome, the guidance recommends further tests to confirm the diagnosis. Because it is an inherited condition, a positive test can also lead to testing of family members.

Diagnosing Lynch syndrome may also help with the choice of treatment for colorectal cancer—for example, to direct chemotherapy or surgery.

Read the full overview here

Read the full guidance recommendations here

Improving adherence to colorectal cancer surveillance guidelines

Mariko C. et al. (2017) BMC Cancer. 17:106

L0028329 Endoscopy operations. Colour lithograph by Virginia Powell,

Image source: Virginia Powell – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors are at increased risk of developing the disease again. Surveillance guidelines are aimed at maximising the early detection of recurring or new cancers and pre-cancerous polyps. The frequency and type of surveillance recommended depends on the type of treatment for the initial CRC, the extent of colonoscopic investigation prior to treatment and the results of previous surveillance tests. This paper aimed to test the effect of a paper–based educational intervention to improve adherence to colonoscopy following treatment for colorectal cancer.

Conclusions: Results indicate the paper-based educational intervention is not effective in improving adherence to colorectal cancer surveillance guidelines for colonoscopy.

Read the full article here

The impact of age on complications, survival, and cause of death following colon cancer surgery

Aquina, C.T. et al. (2017) British Journal of Cancer. 116, pp. 389-397

https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=17&_IXSR_=w11VLnivRk3&_IXSS_=_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26i_pre%3d%26IXTO%3d%26t%3d%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26i_num%3d%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26w%3d%26%2524%253ds%3dcolon%2bcancer%26IXFROM%3d%26_IXSUBMIT_%3dSubmit%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26_IXrescount%3d40&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft

Image source: Lorna McInroy – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows cultured colon cancer cells showing the nuclei stained with DAPI in blue, the actin cytoskeleton in red and plectin (isoform 1k) in green.

Background: Given scarce data regarding the relationship among age, complications, and survival beyond the 30-day postoperative period for oncology patients in the United States, this study identified age-related differences in complications and the rate and cause of 1-year mortality following colon cancer surgery.

Conclusions: Older age and sepsis are associated with higher 1-year overall, cancer-specific, and cardiovascular-specific mortality, highlighting the importance of geriatric assessment, multidisciplinary care, and cardiovascular optimisation for older patients and those with infectious complications.

Read the full abstract here