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MET protein levels potential biomarker for aggressive colon cancer

Study moves researchers closer to personalized cancer treatment

Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D.MET protein levels correlate strongly with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, a treatment-resistant type of colorectal cancer, and may be used as a surrogate biomarker, according to MD Anderson research reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2013 annual meeting in Chicago.

The study compared MET protein expression with protein/gene expression of EMT markers and evaluated impact on survival. The findings provide another piece of the puzzle of personalized cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“While we know there are many of types of colorectal cancer, we’re not as advanced as we’d like to be in our understanding of them,” says Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., MD Anderson associate professor in Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and senior author of the study. “One of the larger goals of our research is to classify simple biomarkers that can be used by doctors in the community to identify subtypes. We want to condense sophisticated gene signatures down to single markers and simple tests that can be used to guide therapy.”

Support sources for the study include National Cancer Institute grants and the Hogan Foundation.

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