STATES CHRONICLE – A new study reveals that the chances of survival, when diagnosed with colon cancer, depend on the location the deadly cell disease strikes.
A study led by Dr. Alan P. Venook of UC San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center has uncovered the remarkable fact that patients with metastatic colon cancer developed on the left side of the colon survive longer than those having the disease on the other side of the colon.
“All colon cancer is not created equally,” said the oncologist Alan P. Venook. For the doctor, it is evident that the two sides of the colon are affected differently by the disease. The study also found that a standard drug treatment used for colon cancer offers, in fact, little benefit to those diseases striking on the right side.
Additionally, the federally-funded study showed that the colon cancer is not just one disease, but a number of different conditions. Scientists suggest that until they learn more about these findings, cancer should be treated differently according to its location.
The study began in 2004 having 293 patients with right-sided colon cancer and 732 patients with left-sided tumors. In 2014, the clinical trial reached a new benchmark in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer patients, setting new expectations for their time with the lethal disease.
The life expectancy stretched 10 percent more than two decades earlier, going up to more than five years. Patients with left-sided primary tumors typically lived for almost 33.3 months, while patients with right-sided primary tumors usually lived for about 19.4 months.
Treated with the same cetuximab drug, patients with cancer on the left side survived on average for 36 months and those with cancer on the right side survived on average 16.7 months.
These differences are truly significant. Doctor Venook says that the two sides of the colon come from different tissue in the embryo which makes them biologically different. Patients with right-sided colon cancer have greater tumor damage because their symptoms arise later than symptoms of the same disease on the other side of the colon.
The oncologist concludes that the side of the colon is “undoubtedly a surrogate marker for biological characteristics of the cancers” and until they learn more about this biology, colon cancer should be approached differently according to its location.
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