Regulatory approval of a new screening method in the detection of recurrent colorectal cancer has recently been announced. The test, called GCC-B1™, is a blood test that has demonstrated great accuracy for the early detection of colorectal cancer that has recurred outside the site of the original cancer following treatment.
The colon and rectum are important parts of the digestive system. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 60,000 people each year. Although patients may be considered to be cancer-free following initial therapy, some of these patients may experience a cancer recurrence caused by undetectable cells that remain in the body after treatment. Patients with early-stage colorectal cancer often receive follow-up care with procedures such as a colonoscopy to detect recurrences at or near the site of the original cancer. However, these patients may experience cancer spread to distant sites in the body (metastasis). The most common blood test utilized for detecting metastasis is called the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tumor marker test. This test was developed almost 40 years ago and has been reported to fail detection of approximately 40% of colorectal metastases.
The new GCC-B1™ test has demonstrated the ability to accurately detect 90% to 100% of colorectal metastasis in clinical testing. GCC-B1™ tests for the presence of the protein guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C) in the blood, which is normally only found in cells of the intestine. Since colorectal cancer cells tend to spread to distant sites in the body through the blood or lymph system, the detection of GC-C in the blood indicates the presence and spread of colorectal cancer cells. GCC-B1™ is able to detect one cancer cell in 10 million normal cells, allowing for the early detection of metastasis. Earlier detection of recurrent colorectal cancer may provide more treatment options.
Clinical trials comparing GCC-B1™ to CEA will need to be conducted to determine if GCC-B1™ provides an advantage. In addition, a test utilizing the same principles is being developed to help stage patients with colorectal cancer by testing for GC-C in lymph nodes removed during the initial surgical removal of colorectal cancer. Interested patients can call 1-800-431-0689 or refer this phone number to their physician for an order form.
Reference: Targeted Diagnostics & Therapeutics, Inc. New Colon Cancer Test Receives Approval for Patient Testing Available at: http://www.tdtinc.com/t_pr_coloncancertest_030206.html. Accessed February 10, 2003.
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