Appendix cancer: genetic mutation testing

Back in 2010 when I was researching treatments for appendiceal adenocarninoma, I learned that appendix cancer is often treated with colon cancer chemotherapy even though appendix cancer is thought to be genetically distinct from colon cancer. There still aren’t any appendix cancer-specific drugs but some patients do respond to the standard colon cancer drugs.  To understand why, scientists are doing research into the genetic differences between the two types of cancer and have found that there are distinct genetic mutations between appendix cancer genes and colon cancer genes.

The UC San Diego Health Newswise report Genetic Mutations of Appendix Cancer Identified, May Impact Treatment” indicates there may be different treatment approaches based on this type of research.

For tumors that are rare like appendix cancer, obtaining molecular profiles will help identify potential treatment options since we don’t have the clinical trial data to help guide treatments as we do in common tumors,” said lead author John Paul Shen, MD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of co-author Trey Ideker, PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor of medicine. “Equally important, the mutation profile can be used as a biomarker to separate high-risk patients, who need intensive treatment, from low-risk patients who may not need such an intensive treatment.

-John Paul Shen, MD, postdoctoral fellow in the lab of co-author Trey Ideker, PHD, UC San Diego School of Medicine

You can also read the original report at JCO Precision Oncology, an American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal.  Thank you to all the researchers who are studying the various aspects of appendix cancer.

At the risk of sounding like a drug commerical on TV, please ask your doctor about genetic mutation testing of your appendix cancer. If nothing else, you will have played an active role in your treatment.

“One of these things is not like the other.”  -Sesame Street

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“One of these things is not like the other.”  -Sesame Street

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