A survey of oncologists suggests that the Oncotype DX colon cancer test changes treatment recommendations for 29 percent of patients with Stage II colon cancer. These results will be presented at the 2012 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.
This test is usually used for patients with lymph node negative breast cancer.
Gene expression profiling explores the patterns of genes that are active in tumor cells. Studies suggest that gene expression may provide important information about prognosis or likely response to treatment in several types of cancer. For example, among selected women with early-stage breast cancer, the Oncotype DX breast cancer test has been shown to predict the likelihood of cancer recurrence and the likelihood of benefit from chemotherapy. As a result, the test has been added to medical guidelines for early-stage breast cancer.
A similar test became available for patients with Stage II colon cancer in 2010. Stage II colon cancer refers to cancer that extends through the wall of the colon but has not invaded lymph nodes or spread to distant parts of the body. Many patients with this stage of disease have good outcomes with surgery alone, and routine adjuvant (post-surgery) chemotherapy is not currently recommended for Stage II colon cancer. Chemotherapy may, however, be considered for Stage II patients with a higher risk of cancer recurrence.
This will be a great tool for patients with stage II colon cancer and will make the decision to administer adjuvant chemotherapy or not easier.
Tony Talebi, MD