Stunning cancer discovery could change treatments

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: Dan Taylor


A stunning new report on colon cancer could result in breakthroughs in new treatments.

A study found that the survival odds against colon cancer depend a lot on which side of your colon the tumor develops, which could provide new insights into how the cancer grows and therefore what could potentially stop it, according to a University of California San Francisco statement.

The study involved 1,000 men and women with colon cancer that had spread. It found that those who had developed cancer on the right side survived only slightly more than 19 months, while those with cancer on the left lived another 33 months.

Lead researcher Alan Venook, professor of medicine at the university, called the finding “stunning and surprising,” and that the difference was “dramatic.”

It suggests that the colon cancer on the right side is different from the colon cancer on the other side.

In addition, researchers determined that patients with left-side colon cancer gained an extra few months of life by taking the chemotherapy drug cetuximba, but those with the tumor on the right side actually lost a couple months.

“It is very clear that the biology of the colon on the right side is different from the biology on the left side,” Venook said. “Previous research suggested that tumor location could affect clinical outcomes, but the effects we observed in this trial appeared to be far great than we expected. This could potentially change the way that colon cancer is treated.”