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Researchers may have found why certain drugs are ineffective against colorectal cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

For many diagnosed with colorectal cancer through lab tests, bevacizumab is a commonly prescribed medication. However, this medication can sometimes be ineffective at stopping tumor growth, and a group of researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center may have come a few steps closer to understanding why.

How the medication works
Bevacizumab stops tumor growth by inhibiting the tumor's vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF-A. While this sometimes works, the medication is only programmed to stop growth in this particular VEGF, so many tumors are able to continue growing even while the medication is being taken.

"Think of it like damming a river. Bevacizumab can block the main flow, but then once a tumor's need builds up behind this dam, water starts to flow around the blockage in the form of streams and tributaries. That's like these other growth factors - eventually a tumor becomes able to use these tributaries of VEGF-C, VEGF-D and placental growth factor to supply itself with the 'water' it needs," said Christopher Lieu, M.D., one of the study's researchers.

Now that the researchers have pinpointed the problems with the cancer-fighting drug, they may be able to inhibit the development of other VEGF components, which could stall the growth of tumors much more efficiently. While more development is needed for future drugs that may fight cancer, the results of the study have been promising.

Colon and rectal cancer
Colon and rectal cancer, known together as colorectal cancer, are types of cancer that effect the large intestines. People tend to develop this disease as they grow older - a lab test online can help diagnose it. The Mayo Clinic reported that colon cancer generally starts as polyps, or small benign clumps of cells in the body. However, these cells can develop into a deadly form of cancer.

While doctors are not entirely sure what causes colon cancer, there are certain factors that can make people more likely to get this disease. One is a genetic predisposition, determined by heredity. Race is another factor, as the disease is more prevalent among African Americans than other races. Lifestyle can also affect chances of getting colon cancer and other cancer, as people with more active lifestyles who do not smoke or drink are less likely to get many types of cancer. People who think they may be likely to get this disease should consider getting a blood test and other tests from a trusted lab.

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