A new test can predict risk of colon cancer recurrence

The first test to determine risk of recurrence in stage 2 colon cancer could be available as soon as next year--good news for the roughly 30,000 patients diagnosed each year.The Oncotype DX colon cancer test (if that name sounds familiar, there's a similar test currently available for breast cancer) analyzes multiple genes to come up with a recurrence score for an individual tumor, researchers reported on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Your doctor can then use that information to decide if you need chemotherapy after surgery.But even though the test successfully measured risk of recurrence, a separate set of genes meant to determine which patients would actually benefit from chemotherapy didn't work. But it's a work in progress. Investigators are now looking at a different set of genes that may work better to predict response to chemotherapy, said researcher David Kerr, MD, of the University of Oxford, at a press briefing prior to the meeting. We'll keep you updated on how that works out.