New predictive test to improve cancer survival
Berlin – Survival rates from colorectal cancer (CRC) differ dramatically according to the stage of the tumor at diagnosis, with survival rates of 90% for patients with stage I disease but only 49% for those with stage III cancer. German researchers now have presented clinical validation data for a revolutionary early biomarker, which allows to recognize if subjects with colorectal carcinoma (CRC) are at high risk to develop fatal metastases or not. „Our correct prediction on whether a subject with colon cancer will develop distant metastases over a period of 10 years, was correct for 78 % of subjects with stage I to III CRC, which expressed MACC1 mRNA at a low level“, lead investigator Ulrike Stein (Max-Delbruck-Center, Berlin) told EuroBiotechNews at the BioTOP Agenda meeting in Berlin. Stein, who has patented MACC1 in 2003 and is awaiting approval this year, is in talks with several companies after initial findings were published in Nature Medicine (doi 10.1038/nm.1889). „Our goal is to develop a quantitative PCR test that predicts the risk of cancer recurrence based on expression of the biomarker MACC1. In Berlin, the group invited the industry to participate in the commercialisation of the findings.
Further data show that patients, who expressed low levels of MACC1, showed 5-year survival rates of 80%, but only 15% for subjects with high MACC1 level. Expression of the MACC1 protein induced cell migration by more than 5-fold, invasion and colony formation by factor
Preclincal analyses of the MACC1 protein, which carries motifs characteristic for tyrosine kinases, and CHiP analyses suggest that MACC1 is a transcriptional regulator of MET, the gene encoding the receptor for the hepatocate growth factor (HGF), which is a target for several cancer drug candidates. Whether the biomarker is also an attractive drug target has to be demonstrated in clinical trials.