New test available that predicts risk of colon cancer recurrence

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Genomic Health announced today that its Oncotype DX colon cancer test to determine the risk of recurrence in patients with stage 2 colon cancer is now commercially available. The colon cancer test looks at the activity of 12 genes in the patient's tumor to come up with a score that predicts how likely it is that the cancer will come back. It's this information that can help patients and doctors decide whether chemotherapy is needed after surgery.Research will be presented this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium that suggests the test may have a potential role in stage 3 colon cancer, although further study is needed. And as we reported at last year's ASCO annual meeting, although the test successfully predicted recurrence, it did not predict which patients would benefit from chemotherapy.A similar 21-gene test for early-stage breast cancer has been available since 2004, and Genomic Health is currently developing tests for prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer, and melanoma.