Colon cancer – new, tailor-made therapies and Alternatives to colonoscopy

The Screening options for colorectal cancer are as good as ever. Nevertheless, there are a number of patients with advanced colorectal cancer, in which the common treatments come too late. For you up to date with the development of new therapies.

Colorectal cancer is, with approximately 65,000 new cases per year after breast or prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in both sexes. The current chances of a cure for colon cancer in the early stage are 80 to about 90 percent, “in advanced, so starting at stage three and above, but is significantly below 60 percent,” reported Thomas Seufferlein, Medical Director of the clinic for Internal medicine I at the University hospital in Ulm.

Research: Personalised Cancer Therapy

Therefore, scientists are searching for new therapeutic approaches to complement the conventional treatment – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or to improve. The most promising approach at the time: Organoids. These are special cell culture, a sort of “cell clumps” that are grown from patient’s cancer cells in the laboratory. The cancer cells are from a biopsy.

The organo halides experts can check now, what is the substance of the Tumor is sensitive to and which him untouched. In this way, you could create a tailor-made therapy for the patient. However, it might take some time until this extensive testing procedure in General.

Immunotherapy for colorectal cancer

Especially for the group of patients with advanced colorectal cancer however, there are now some promising new therapeutic approaches. About four percent of them have sections of a carcinoma with so-called unstable microsatellites (DNA). That means that the tumors have many mutations. “We then speak of a ‘hot’ Tumor, from the body’s own immune system is not good visible,” explains the oncologist.

In order for the immune system to attack the identified cancer cells are also active, are now being used Immune-Checkpoint inhibitors. The anti-body, loosen the brakes in the immune system’s natural and, therefore, the impact force will increase. “This new approach is sensationally successful,” says Thomas Seufferlein. Patients who have only a life expectancy of just a few weeks, the survival with this immune therapy a year or longer.

However, this treatment is only effective in a few patients, because most have a “cold” Tumor, which means it grows, so to speak, under the Radar of the immune system, for the immune cells not recognizable. “A new method to make this cold tumors due to the so-called BiTEs (bispecific antibodies T cell engagers) hot, and thus, immune cells in the Tumor, trigger, for example, programmed cell death,” explains the oncologist.

The location of the tumor is critical

In addition, the research of the last years has found more and more distinguishing features in the case of colon cancer, which, in turn, a targeted and thus more successful therapy. A at first glance banal, but important difference is whether the Tumor arose in the right-hand or left-hand part of the intestine. “Depending on the location of the primary tumor has different molecular features,” says Thomas Seufferlein.

These molecular characteristics are determined by various mutations, can now be clearly identify, such as BRAF or KRAS Mutation. Other tumors have an amplification (multiplication) of HER2-receptors, and are in this way with special active ingredients vulnerable.

On the basis of this typing can be selected as directed in the case of colorectal cancer the goal of therapy. “Unfortunately, this possibility is used in practice, still much too little,” according to the expert. However, he is convinced that in the future this new therapy could approaches, the chances for healing greatly increase. Thus, immunotherapy with Checkpoint inhibitors is also for certain patients after surgery is conceivable, what could improve the chances of cure substantially.

Chances of a cure increase by optimal Precautionary

In General, the chances of a cure for bowel cancer have risen considerably. This is not only the fact that there are now more and targeted therapy opportunities. Through precautionary measures, especially the colonoscopy (colonoscopy) will be discovered “already precursors of colorectal cancer and in the context of the investigation, the same removed, as well as early stages recognized,” says the oncologist.

Therefore, the colonoscopy is still the gold standard when it comes to colorectal cancer screening and early detection – because examination of the intestine, removal of tissue samples and the removal of intestinal polyps time can be made equal, so to speak, in one go. Can’t afford that, the chair test. If he responds positively, is, in addition, a colonoscopy is needed to detect more Accurate and treat.

Breath test instead of colonoscopy is still uncertain

However, many patients are still afraid of the colonoscopy, although it is very safe and less stressful. For this it could be already in five years, an Alternative. Currently, various blood – and even a breath test for the early detection of colorectal cancer in the test, which would have been a high degree of reliability, be Thomas Seufferlein reported. However, these screening tests have the Problem: you are still very unzuverlässsig in terms of “critical” polyps.


It will be in the future, although a further, simple and highly reliable screening tests for colorectal cancer, colonoscopy remains to be because of their property, at the same time, diagnosis and treatment, however, is unbeatable. In the treatment especially of advanced colorectal cancer, there is a whole range of new treatment options, the track, so to speak, the weak spot of the tumor, it there sensitive or vulnerable and at least be able to stop.

Here you will find a list of certified colorectal cancer centers in Germany, which are characterized by high quality standards for colonoscopies and cancer therapies., you can find one in your area.