Epigenomics Biomarker Predicts Drug Resistance in Colorectal Cancer

Epigenomics Biomarker Predicts Drug Resistance in Colorectal Cancer


Berlin, Germany, and Seattle, WA, U.S.A. - Epigenomics AG (Frankfurt Prime Standard: ECX), the German-American cancer molecular diagnostics company, is pleased to announce the publication of a study authored by Professor Matthias Ebert at University of Heidelberg entitled "TFAP2E-DKK4 and Chemoresistance in Colorectal Cancer" in the January edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

In this study involving more than 200 patients in four independent cohorts, Professor Ebert and his team demonstrated that hypermethylation of the TFAP2E gene was correlated with non-responsiveness to the commonly used chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).

Furthermore, using a combination of data from cancer cell lines and patient samples, the authors demonstrated that this effect was potentially mediated through up-regulation of the DKK4 gene, previously implicated in 5-FU resistance. Resistance to treatment was observed with 5-FU based chemotherapy or 5-FU chemotherapy combined with radiation, indicating that TFAP2E methylation may be a valuable biomarker for response prediction in either setting.

Epigenomics co-author, Dr. Cathy Lofton-Day commented that "This is one of the first studies to identify a methylation based biomarker for resistance to chemotherapy, and may provide caregivers with information to allow a more informed choice of 5-FU based chemotherapy treatment selection for patients with colorectal cancer".

The study represents an important step forward in the growing role that biomarkers can play in the management of cancer and other diseases. Professor Ebert commented: "In practical terms, we believe this study demonstrates the potential that novel DNA methylation biomarkers may have in improving the selection of therapies for this deadly disease. A prospective validation of the marker is, however, still required".

Epigenomics believes that this study demonstrates the potential of TFAP2E and other biomarkers identified in Epigenomics' DNA methylation discovery pipeline in supporting clinical decision making.

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Epigenomics (www.epigenomics.com) is a molecular diagnostics company developing and commercializing a pipeline of proprietary products for cancer. The Company's products enable doctors to diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately, leading to improved outcomes for patients. Epigenomics' lead product, Epi proColon®, is a blood-based test for the early detection of colorectal cancer, which is currently marketed in Europe and is in development for the U.S.A. The Company's technology and products have been validated through multiple partnerships with leading global diagnostic companies including Abbott, QIAGEN, Sysmex, and Quest Diagnostics. Epigenomics is an international company with operations in Europe and the U.S.A.

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