Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Blood-Based Biomarker Developed at The City of Hope

The Problem:

Colorectal Cancer (CRC): It is fourth on the list of life-threatening cancers in the United States and the number of incidents is rising mostly among people under fifty years of age. Currently, there is no accurate non-invasive test to detect nonhereditary colorectal disease for that age group. The blood tests and noninvasive fecal tests currently available lack accuracy.

The Solution:

In a City of Hope study, a blood-based biomarker has been identified that is able to detect early-onset colorectal cancer.

According to a recent article in Inside Precision Medicine, Professor Ajay Goel chair of City of Hope’s Molecular Diagnostics Department commented that the study represents a first in the development of a valid microRNA biomarker that will recognize colorectal cancer in its early stages. The study was recently published in the Gastroenterology journal.

By definition, a microRNA is a small single-stranded non-coding RNA molecule.

It is significant that this microRNA, in detecting early-onset colorectal cancer, will be of benefit to younger patients who are generally diagnosed with late-stage aggressive disease.

About the Study

The researchers used a public database for their analysis to detect miRNA  They first stripped away patient data associated with Stage I and Stage II early-onset CRC and also late-onset disease.

Then in order to validate the results they used the blood samples of 149 patients who had early-onset disease. This was compared with a 110-person control group.

After the miRNAs were eliminated, the investigators from the City of Hope identified four miRNAs. These were integrated into an early-onset marker of CRC and a diagnostic, (blood-based), was developed that detects the early onset of CRC.

Looking Forward

Eventually, the test may be used in a physical exam to detect CRC or at six-month intervals in accordance with specific inherited genes that put these individuals in a high-risk category.

The City of Hope, a designated NCI cancer center, takes a state-of-the-art approach in its endeavor to provide cancer care and research to its Southern California patients.

What are your thoughts about becoming a rare disease advocate?

Share your stories, thoughts, and hopes with the Patient Worthy Community

Rose Duesterwald                      August 12, 2022


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email