Research scientists at the Macquarie University and Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Australia have discovered that expression of the cell surface protein uPAR can predict survival after colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery. The study found that patients expressing uPAR may have undetectable cancer metastasis and dramatically poorer survival.
For the first time, a biomarker discovered by Macquarie University and Concord Repatriation General Hospital researchers will allow clinicians to distinguish certain types of colorectal cancer patients who do relatively well after surgery from those who may subsequently die from their disease.
The discovery came as part of a 20-year rectal cancer surveillance study into a condition that affects 1.4 million people globally every year.
Bowel and rectal cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if detected early. However according to Bowel Cancer Australia, fewer than 40% of bowel cancers are detected that early. A clear diagnosis in later stages can help guide clinicians to make appropriate decisions about prognosis, survival rates, surgery and other therapy options.
“We found that patients presenting with Stage B cancer — that is, confined to the bowel wall – may or may not show detection of a cancer cell biomarker called urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, simplified as uPAR,” says lead researcher Professor Mark Baker, Professor of Proteomics at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Science.
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