Health Care Science and Innovation

Researchers test new way to detect colorectal cancer that could end chemotherapy for some patients

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Woman preparing to have her blood drawn

A new genetic test for patients with colorectal cancer, being studied at AdventHealth, can detect if a patient has cancer from a simple blood draw. The groundbreaking test could allow patients to avoid chemotherapy after having surgery to remove a tumor. The test searches for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), which is a sequencing technology that can detect very small amounts of tumor DNA in the body’s circulatory system.

“What we knew is that a lot of those patients were cured with surgery alone. We just didn’t have a way to know which ones had microscopic cancer left in the blood, who needed chemo and who did not,” said Dr. Mohamedtaki Tejani, medical oncologist and director of the Gastrointestinal Oncology program at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute and the AdventHealth Research Institute, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Dr. Tejani is leading the AdventHealth site with two National Cancer Institute clinical trials that aim to harness this sequencing technology to improve patient care. The trial related to Stage 3 colon cancer and the BESPOKE study are currently enrolling participants through a referral process with the AdventHealth Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. Click the link for each study for more information on how to enroll.

In the future, Dr. Tejani hopes this genetic test, which has to be ordered by a physician, can also be used to prescreen for very early-stage colon cancer, and also more effectively treat other cancers, such as gynecologic or pancreatic cancers.

Read the full Orlando Sentinel story here.

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