Surgeons at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have identified 87 genes that someday may tell doctors whether or not rectal cancer patients need surgery after chemotherapy and radiation. The panel of genes predicted patients whose cancer appeared to be completely destroyed by the combination of chemotherapy and radiation before surgery, what is called pathological complete response.
Before it can become routine practice, the gene panel will need to be checked in another group of patients and clinical trials will need to be conducted to see if patients who have pathological complete responses and no surgery do as well as those who do have surgery. Read the rest of this entry »