Colorectal cancer marker tags poor outcomes

Knowing which cancers are more aggressive, or which have a poor outcome, is useful for both patients and physicians in choosing when and how to treat them. The biomarker podocalyxin-like 1 (PODXL), a marker on the surface of cancer cells, has already been linked with aggressive cancers and poor outcomes, including in colorectal cancer. A team of Swedish researchers has validated this connection.

The researchers looked at tissue samples from patients with colorectal cancer and measured the levels of PODXL protein and mRNA. They found higher levels of PODXL protein in the patients with poor outcomes, including shorter overall and disease-free survival, as well as those with a shorter time to recurrence after responding to initial treatment.

The researchers have filed a patent for use of PODXL as a prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer. Further development could open up a route to a test that could guide treatment choice in these hard to treat patients, and support provision of information and counseling for patients with advanced disease.

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