Liquid biopsy identifies who can skip chemo after colon cancer surgery

Liquid biopsy can help identify patients with stage II colon cancer who do not need chemotherapy to prevent recurrence after surgery, according to results of a 455-patient study.

Among patients in the study who were tested via liquid biopsy, 15% ended up receiving chemotherapy versus 28% whose risk was determined using standard diagnostics

Two years later, rates of survival without recurrence were similar, at roughly 93%, in both groups, the researchers reported at ASCO 2022 meeting.

Very few patients with these cancers – which have grown through the colon wall but not reached the lymph nodes

will actually benefit from adjuvant, or post-surgery, chemotherapy. But “every patient struggles with the question of whether to skip it,”

especially those at low or intermediate risk of recurrence based on surgeons’ observations or analysis of the excised tumor, said study leader Dr. Jeanne, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

In experiments in animals and in blood samples from healthy volunteers, acetaminophen “significantly limited the effect” of the cancer immunotherapies, the researchers said.

In the study of nearly 3,500 postmenopausal women receiving aromatase inhibitors for their breast cancer, such as Arimidex from AstraZeneca and Femara from Novartis,

patients received either a Prolia injection every six months or a placebo. Prolia, a monoclonal antibody known chemically as denosumab, curbs the bone thinning seen with osteoporosis.

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