Colorectal cancer detection method can be refined (study)

Colorectal cancer detection method can be refined (study)
Colorectal cancer detection method can be refined (study)

The current method of detecting colorectal cancer can be refined thanks to a major new study carried out by the “Vlaams Darmflora Project”. This study was published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Medicine. It appears that ‘fusobacterium nucleatum’, a bacterium currently used as an indicator of colorectal cancer, has little diagnostic value in the development of cancer.

The “Vlaams Darmflora Project”, led by researchers from VIB-KU Leuven, has collected stool samples from more than 5,000 healthy volunteers in recent years. In a new project, they collaborated with researchers from UZ Leuven, AMC and Janssen Pharmaceutica to identify bacteria that may indicate the development of colorectal cancer. In this study, samples from 589 patients from Leuven with different stages of colorectal cancer were analyzed and compared with thousands of samples from the “Vlaams darmflora” project and data from more than 4,000 samples from previous studies on colorectal cancer. cancer.

For their analysis, the researchers also took into account other factors influencing the intestinal environment. Certain parameters are in fact known to also affect the intestinal flora. The results shed a new light on colorectal cancer screening. It appears that ‘fusobacterium nucleatum’, a bacterium currently used as an indicator of colorectal cancer, has little diagnostic value in the development of cancer. Other bacteria, not used until now, however, show a clear link.

“Sometimes a bacteria appears to be linked to colorectal cancer, when in reality it is associated with the presence of diarrhea or intestinal inflammation,” explains Professor Jeroen Raes, group leader at VIB-KULeuven. “Taking into account all these factors in our study, we were able to very precisely identify the right signals.”

The study results could have important implications for the early and effective detection of colorectal cancer. “Screening for colorectal cancer is very important, but due to the high cost of colonoscopies, it is not possible to perform it on everyone,” says Professor Sabine Tejpar, gastroenterologist and head of Digestive Oncology at UZ Leuven. “Stool tests are easy and inexpensive – the more accurate they are, the sooner they can be applied.”

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