Epigenomics Biomarker Predicts Drug Resistance in Colorectal Cancer

09-Jan-2012 - Germany

Epigenomics AG announced the publication of a study authored by Professor Matthias Ebert at University of Heidelberg entitled “TFAP2E-DKK4 and Chemoresistance in Colorectal Cancer” in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In this study involving more than 200 patients in four independent cohorts, Professor Ebert and his team demonstrated that hypermethylation of the TFAP2E gene was correlated with non-responsiveness to the commonly used chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).  

Furthermore, using a combination of data from cancer cell lines and patient samples, the authors demonstrated that this effect was potentially mediated through up-regulation of the DKK4 gene, previously implicated in 5-FU resistance. Resistance to treatment was observed with 5-FU based chemotherapy or 5-FU chemotherapy combined with radiation, indicating that TFAP2E methylation may be a valuable biomarker for response prediction in either setting.

Epigenomics co-author, Dr. Cathy Lofton-Day commented that “This is one of the first studies to identify a methylation based biomarker for resistance to chemotherapy, and may provide caregivers with information to allow a more informed choice of 5-FU based chemotherapy treatment selection for patients with colorectal cancer”. 

Epigenomics believes that this study demonstrates the potential of TFAP2E and other biomarkers identified in Epigenomics’ DNA methylation discovery pipeline in supporting clinical decision making.

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