Tuesday, September 22, 2009
TUESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Two new blood-based assays -- a DNA methylation test and a S100A4 mRNA test -- may improve the diagnosis and prognosis of colorectal cancer, according to two studies presented at the joint 15th Congress of the European Cancer Organisation and 34th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology, held from Sept. 20 to 24 in Berlin.
In one study, Joost Louwagie, Ph.D., of OncoMethylome Sciences in Liege, Belgium, and colleagues assessed two newly reported DNA methylation markers -- SYNE1 and FOXE1 -- in 242 healthy controls and 22 cancer patients. They found that the test had 94 percent specificity and 68 percent sensitivity for SYNE1 only and 91 percent specificity and 77 percent sensitivity for the combination of SYNE1 and FOXE1.
In a second study, Ulrike Stein, Ph.D., of ECRC Charite University Medicine Berlin and Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine, and colleagues assessed 466 patients with colon, rectal, or gastric cancer and 51 healthy controls. They found that S100A4 mRNA transcript plasma levels were significantly higher in patients than controls, and that levels were significantly higher in patients with metastasized versus non-metastasized cancer.
"Here we provide for the first time a reliable and simple blood-based assay for transcript quantification of the metastasis-promoting gene S100A4 in patients' plasma," Stein and colleagues conclude. "We demonstrate its applicability for identification of occult tumors and/or metastasis in seemingly healthy populations, and in newly diagnosed or already treated patients."
The first study was supported by Signature Diagnostics in collaboration with OncoMethylome Sciences; several authors reported financial relationships with the companies.
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