Tired of chemotherapy- New alternative treatments for cancer emerge: An excellent way of killing cancerous cells is through chemotherapy. However, the downside to this is that this kind of therapy destroys healthy cells in the process. These results in several side effects.
Chemotherapy isn’t always required for successful treatment. However, identifying whether or not someone needs it is both a science and an art.
Physicians now have access to a technique that has already helped some stage II colon cancer patients. This helps them avoid chemo while preserving their clinical outcomes. This is thanks to a new study.
This new study’s method relies on circulating tumor DNA. This is a kind of DNA that circulates in the bloodstream (ctDNA). This one is self-explanatory: it’s little pieces of cancer-related DNA that circulate in the bloodstream.
They are not, however, a component of a tumor cell; rather, they are the tumor’s own DNA. This isn’t the first research to look at ctDNA. Scientists already know that the presence of ctDNA in the circulation after surgery predicts cancer recurrence.
Tired of chemotherapy? New alternative treatments for cancer emerge
The most recent research, on the other hand has taken this knowledge a step further. It’s the first clinical study to show that a ctDNA “guided approach” after surgery can assist people with stage II colon cancer significantly.
“Stage II colon cancer is really challenging,” says Anne Marie Lennon, a Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist.
“Chemotherapy is not required for patients with stage I colon cancer because their odds of survival are over 90%. The therapy’s discomfort and toxicity concerns outweigh the benefits it can provide. However, due to the high risk of recurrence, every stage III colon cancer patient currently receives chemotherapy.”
In stage II colon cancer, the cancer has spread through the muscular layers of the colon wall. However, it has not yet spread to other organs. The patient will have surgery to remove the tumor in this case. However, the doctor will have to determine whether or not to continue with chemotherapy.
We know that around 75% of people with stage II colon cancer do not need chemotherapy after surgery, but about 25% do. It’s vital to figure out who will benefit the most from chemotherapy, yet doing so incorrectly can be catastrophic.
Currently, a number of features of a tumor might prompt a doctor to recommend chemotherapy, such as if the tumor appears abnormal under a microscope or if the cancer has spread to other organs.
However, according to recent research, this technique isn’t perfect, and many cancer sufferers may be receiving chemotherapy when they don’t need it.
Between 2015 and 2019, 455 people with type II colon cancer were included in the study. 302 individuals were given the ctDNA guided therapy, while the rest received standard care. After around 37 months, the patients were followed up on, which meant the study had data on them for more than three years.
Both conventional therapy and guided treatment showed similar percentages of survival and no cancer recurrence during the study period (92.4 against 93.5 percent).
However, there was a considerable difference in the amount of chemotherapy given. In the ctDNA guided therapy group, only 15.3 percent of patients required chemo, compared to 27.9% in the traditional treatment group.
With no improvement in survival or tumor recurrence, this is roughly double the number of those who had chemotherapy. “A ctDNA-guided method to stage II colon cancer lowered adjuvant chemotherapy use without compromising recurrence-free life,” the researchers said in their new study, lead by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute gastrointestinal oncologist Jeanne Tie.
The reduced incidence of recurrence in ctDNA-positive people who had chemotherapy demonstrates that adjuvant therapy increases survival. The researchers believe that ctDNA will be a helpful signal for treating various cancers and stages of colon cancer, and they are presently investigating if ctDNA may help with early stage pancreatic cancer and stage III colon cancer.
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Stage II colon cancer
Joshua Cohen, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, believes, “We have the capacity to alter clinical practice.” “When ctDNA is used to guide therapy, a stage II colon cancer patient who is negative for ctDNA has a lower probability of cancer recurrence than the average stage I colon cancer patient.”
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The findings were presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It will appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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