Response to chemotherapy (irinotecan plus 5-fluorouracil) in colorectal carcinoma can be predicted by tumour DNA content.
Bendardaf R., Lamlum H., Ristamäki R., Algars A., Collan Y., Pyrhönen S.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify markers that might predict response to chemotherapy. Postoperative chemotherapy improves the outcome in stage III colon cancer and is widely accepted as a standard therapy, but there are currently no reliable predictors to identify and select patients that will benefit. METHODS: Using DNA image cytometry, the DNA content was determined from the isolated nuclei of 56 primary colorectal carcinomas of patients who received chemotherapy (either irinotecan or irinotecan plus 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid) for advanced disease. Response to chemotherapy could be reliably evaluated in 53 patients. RESULTS: The modal DNA content (ploidy status) of the tumour correlated with the observed response to chemotherapy (p = 0.01). An objective response was observed in 56% of patients whose tumour histograms displayed tetraploid, peri-tetraploid or multiploid patterns of peaks, compared with 19% in patients with diploid, peri-diploid or aneuploid peaks. Notably, 86% (6/7) of patients whose tumours displayed a multiploid peak pattern showed an objective response and 1 patient had stable disease. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that modal DNA content can be used to predict a patient's response to chemotherapy in advanced colorectal carcinoma. This may help in identifying patients who will benefit most from therapy for advanced colorectal cancer.