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BIOCOR study

Laatste wijziging: 24 januari 2022

Analysis of metabolic end-products in plasma: new test for the detection of colon caner


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Michiel Thomeer


Colorectal cancer is the second most deadliest cancer in Belgium with an estimated mortality rate of 2.974 people in 2008. As in various other cancer types, the tumor stage at the time of diagnosis is a critical determinant of the clinical outcome of colorectal cancer patients. Unfortunately, specific symptoms of colorectal cancer typically appear only during advanced stages of disease, thereby delaying the time of diagnosis and decreasing patient outcome. Screening modalities that allow an early detection of colorectal cancer therefore offer the opportunity to improve the survival of individuals suffering from this disease. A blood-based test represents a promising tool for screening of colorectal cancer as it is minimally invasive, safe, inexpensive, easy to perform, and therefore very likely to lead to high participation rates. The key to developing a useful blood-based screening tool is to identify biomarkers in the blood that are sensitive and specific for colorectal cancer. Metabolomics, i.e. the study of all metabolites present within the human body, can be of great assistance in the search for such biomarkers, as the metabolism of cancer cells differs significantly from that of normal cells. The altered metabolism of cancer cells provokes changes in the metabolic phenotype of the organism, and metabolites can therefore serve as attractive biomarkers for cancer.


The aim of this project is to examine whether metabolic phenotyping of blood plasma allows to detect colorectal cancer with an acceptable sensitivity and specificity. Hereto, plasma aliquots will be collected from colorectal cancer patients and control subjects and analyzed by means of proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Subsequently, multivariate analyses will be performed to investigate whether the metabolic composition of blood plasma allows to discriminate between both groups.