If you have recently been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, your doctor will have discussed your treatment options with you. Each cancer is different in every single person, meaning that there is no one size fits all approach to treatment.
A very common treatment process involves surgery to remove the tumour, followed by a cycle of chemotherapy to make sure that all cancerous cells have been destroyed. In some cases, surgery is sufficient to completely remove the cancer and chemotherapy is unnecessary. In some cases chemotherapy is essential. Your clinician will make this decision based on the information available to them. Decision making can be improved with additional information. Helping your doctor be more informed about your cancer may help avoid unnecessary chemotherapy and the side-effects that often accompany treatment.
Our suite of digital tests have been created to help your doctors make the most informed decisions on your treatment plan, including whether or not chemotherapy is needed.
Our tests work by utilising genetic information taken from your DNA, which is collected through a blood sample, mouth swab or from the piece of tumour removed during the surgical resection, this allows doctors to create a personalised treatment plan based on your results. Your doctor will use these test results alongside other information to make an informed decision on how best to treat you.
A cancer diagnosis is the start of a challenging journey. As a patient comes to terms with what lies ahead, a team a experienced healthcare professionals with multiple backgrounds swing into action. These clinicians will all bring specialist experience to the table to help achieve the best outcome for the patient. Traditional chemotherapy is still a very effective way of treating cancer. One type of chemotherapy is a class of molecules called fluoropyrimidines, specifically 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and capecitabine. These compounds are indicated in multiple cancer types that typically developed along the gastrointestinal tract but also have application in prostate and late stage breast cancer. 5-FU and capecitabine are still consider first line treat in the management of colorectal cancer.
An enzyme called dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is responsible for the breakdown (catabolism) of fluoropyrimidines once they enter the body. The DPD enzyme is coded for in the DNA by the corresponding DPYD gene. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of this gene can result in reduced or eliminated enzyme function impairing the bodies ability to clear the drug. Therapy become toxicity.
An estimated 10-30% of colorectal cancer patients experience severe drug side effects (toxicity) when treated with 5FU or capecitabine. Side effects can range from diarrhea, mucositis, colitis, vomiting, nausea and in some cases death.
Oxford Cancer Biomarkers have used pioneering precision medicine techniques to identify 20 variants that are associated with side effects. The ToxNav test identifies if you are at high risk of these side effects before the patient is treated. Clinicians can prescribe safer chemotherapy doses and reduce the likelihood of toxicity. ToxNav also identifies if you are in the small subset of patients (1% of all patients) that should avoid 5FU based chemotherapy altogether due to high risk of life-threatening toxicities.
The ToxNav DPYD panel provides important information to clinicians.
This test is carried out after colorectal cancer surgery to identify if you are at Low Risk, intermediate Risk or High Risk of relapse. This will allow surgeons and oncologists to personalise your treatment to you, potentially avoiding chemotherapy if you have a high likelihood of cure by surgery alone.
Currently in development, ColoPredict can identify if you are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer with only a simple mouth swab. If you are found to be at higher risk, doctors can recommend steps to minimise your risk of colorectal cancer including exercise, healthy eating, early screenings and colonoscopies.