Trials Begin for New Colon Cancer Screening Test

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Researchers at the University Hospitals of Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have announced that they are enrolling patients in a trial to study a promising new noninvasive colon cancer-screening test. The trial will be a four-year study to compare the effectiveness of stool DNA (SDNA) testing with colonoscopy for detecting large colon polyps.

SDNA technology, which was developed by Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, oncologist with the U.H. Seidman Cancer Center and Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, detects colon cancer at its earliest stages and is a recommended screening by the American Cancer Society. The technology is based on the detection of a specific change in DNA — methylation of the vimentin gene — which occurs in colon cancer cells. The change is detected, at high sensitivity, in DNA shed by colon cancers into the stool. SDNA technology has been licensed by EXACT Sciences Corporation for commercial development and expanded to include a larger panel of genes.

"Colonoscopy is truly the best test, but it has its limitations and is vastly underutilized by the public," says Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD, Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention at U.H. Seidman Cancer Center and Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "SDNA technology is a completely noninvasive approach and a complement to colonoscopy. It is emerging as a promising alternative for patients who do not want to undergo colonoscopy or do not have access to the procedure. It also can be beneficial for patients during the years in between colonoscopies."

For this study, investigators plan to recruit 1,600 patients who are scheduled for colonoscopy at U.H. Case Western Medical Center and U.H. community-based practices. The efficacy of SDNA technology for detection of large polyps, particularly advanced adenomas, will be assessed.

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