Approx. 6% of all Germans suffer from colorectal cancer over the course of their lives, making it the second most common cancer in men and women in Germany.

Colorectal cancer usually forms from polyps which are benign when they first appear. Depending on the location of the disease, cancers are classified as being of the colon or of the rectum (colon cancer or rectal cancer). Together they are referred to as colorectal cancer.

Colon cancer often occurs symptom-free over a long-time period; in the early stages of the disease, the chances of curing are high. Risk factors include meat-based diets, as well as smoking and alcohol consumption. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the bowel can also lead to bowel cancer. This is why German insurance funds cover colonoscopy examinations at 10-year intervals for persons over the age of 56. Any polyps that may be found during the examination are removed.

maintrac® for colorectal cancer (carcinoma of the colon)

Ideally, tumors are removed surgically, wherever possible. In addition to the affected section of bowel, the associated area of lymph is often also removed in the surgical procedure. maintrac® can be used both during neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment stagesin order to monitor treatment and make adjustments to improve treatment where needed.

In advanced, metastatic stages of the diseases, combinations of chemotherapy and targeted drug treatments are often administered. maintrac® can be used to determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy before treatment is started. This testing is carried out in a test tube, giving an indication of the most effective therapy in each individual case. At the same time, cell characteristics can be identified, which may be important when administering targeted substances such as Cetuximab and Panitumumab. These substances base on the presence of a growth receptor (EGFR), which may be expressed on the surface of the cell, or via so-called DNA amplicon. If the EGFR is present, these substances can inhibit tumor growth.

A determination of Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen (TF) on the circulating tumor cells can give an indication of liver metastases occurring.

  • The TF antigen is a carbohydrate epitope. TF-positive tumor cells tend to metastasize to the liver, as liver cells possess a receptor for the TF-antigen. As such, malignant cells carrying the TF antigen may accumulate in the liver tissue. TF antigens are also present on the surface of tumor cells in lung, breast, pancreatic, stomach and ovarian cancers.