In the 8 major markets (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, and China), stage II and stage III combined represent the highest proportion of diagnosed incident cases of colorectal cancer. The standard treatment for early stages is surgical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy for high-risk patients.
However, resistance of colorectal cancer to chemotherapy is the principal cause of treatment failure, and therefore deciding on whether to treat stage II and stage III colorectal cancer patients with adjuvant chemotherapy is one the most challenging questions for clinical oncologists today.
Moreover, current research methods do not allow clear identification of these high-risk patients: this is why there still is a crucial need to develop biomarkers that make possible the early identification of patients who might benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
The research team at the Luxembourg university has identified such a prognostic and predictive biomarker in the colorectal cancer.
This biomarker is highly expressed in epithelial cells of the gut, and plays an important role in cell differentiation. The loss of this biomarker might therefore be associated to cancer outcome, since the lack of cell differentiation is a hallmark of the disease.
The research team has identified that this biomarker is significantly reduced in colorectal cancer tumors, and that its expression is associated with the patient outcome.
Indeed, early colorectal cancer patients with high expression of this biomarker showed a better overall and disease-free survival compared to patients with low expression.
Most importantly, a meta-analysis on various different colorectal cancer datasets unravelled that the expression of this biomarker can predict the efficiency of chemotherapy treatment in colorectal cancer patients.
A simple qPCR-based test either on fresh frozen or on paraffin samples, as determined by the research team’s pre-analytical research, is perfectly suitable for the evaluation of this biomarker expression.
The university is looking for partners willing to engage in a partnership to further develop and commercialize the biomarker. License agreement, as well as technical cooperation agreements are considered depending on the type and interests of the potential partner.