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The Lancet Oncology

Friday, January 22, 2010

Studies Show Benefit of Advance Detection and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancers

A great number of the world's preeminent gastroenterologists will gather during the seventh annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (ASCO GI) from January 22-24, 2010, at the Orlando World Center Marriott to discuss new research on the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.

Presentations at the meeting will focus on detection and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, which includes cancers of the colon/rectum, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, small intestine, anus and other digestive organs. More than 275,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with these cancers each year, and nearly 136,000 people die from them. The Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium is co-sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiology Oncology (ASTRO) and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).

Highlights from this year Scientific Meeting include the result of four significant studies:

Simple blood test detects colorectal cancer and colorectal adenomas
A new test for blood levels of the CD24 protein is more than 90 percent sensitive and specific for detecting colorectal cancer, and more than 80 percent accurate at detecting potential precancers, called adenomas. These findings may prove useful for identifying patients who would benefit most from colonoscopy.

New test for early detection of pancreatic cancer
Researchers report on a promising immunoassay that detects early-stage pancreatic cancers with a high degree of accuracy. The assay identifies and quantifies blood levels of the PAM4 protein – a unique antigen present in almost 90 percent of pancreatic cancers and precancers. Pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed at a late stage, when it is more difficult to treat.
Inherited gene variation predicts aggressive gastric cancer
For the first time, researchers report the identification of an inherited genetic variation – located on the CD44 gene – that is linked to increased risk of recurrence in patients with gastric (stomach) cancer.

Adjuvant XELOX chemotherapy regimen slows colon cancer progression in patients of all ages, including those 70+
Adjuvant (post-surgical) treatment with capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX) is more effective than standard 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin (5-FU/LV) for slowing the progression of stage III colon cancer among patients of all ages, including those age 70 and older – findings that may prompt more aggressive treatment for older patients in otherwise good health.
“Growing understanding of molecular biology has helped us make enormous progress in screening, detection and treatment for gastrointestinal cancers,” said Robert P. Sticca, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “These studies describe long-awaited approaches, such as an early detection test for pancreatic cancer and a blood test for colon cancer. Other studies presented during the annual symposium will help us to better personalize treatment for gastric and colon cancers based on patients’ age and genetic factors.”