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Blood Test May Predict Colon Cancer Spread

A blood test may soon be able to predict which colon
cancers are likely to spread to other parts of the body, according to a new
study.

Researchers found two proteins in the blood that may serve as potential
biomarkers of colon cancers that are more aggressive and likely to spread.

Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. with more
than 50,000 deaths reported each year. Surgery is the main treatment for
the disease, but almost half of those treated for colon cancer experience a
recurrence of the disease within five years due to cancer cells spreading to
other parts of the body.

Researchers say determining which colon cancers will spread is difficult
because there are no reliable chemical markers in the body for predicting its
spread, known in medical terms as metastasis.

In the study, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, Chinese
researchers compared proteins produced by the original colon cancer tumor cells
to those of metastasized cells from a single person with colon cancer.

The results highlighted two proteins that occurred at much higher levels in
the metastatic cells than in the original colon cancer cells.

Although further research is needed to confirm these findings, researchers
say the proteins may bring them a step closer to understanding the disease.

"The identified candidate proteins," write researchers Hua Xue of Zhejiang
University in Hangzhou, China, and colleagues, "will facilitate our
understanding toward the molecular mechanism of [colorectal cancer] metastasis
as well as providing useful biomarkers for cancer prevention, detection and
intervention in the future."

By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Laura Martin
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