Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of Americans have undergone colorectal cancer screening and almost half of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage. Baylor Center for Gastrointestinal Research has found a way to detect mIR-21, a cancer related biomarker present in individuals with cancer or advanced premalignant colonic polyps.
MicroRNAs(miRNAs) are expressed in response to stimuli directing a cell to grow or develop a specific function. Research has proven that cancer-related miRNAs can be secreted in a wide variety of bodily fluids, including blood.
mIR-21 Proves Effective
After studying several hundred subjects with colorectal polyps and cancers, Baylor Center for Gastrointestinal Research found “Levels of miR-21 in the blood can accurately identify 83 percent of patients with colorectal cancer and 77 percent of patients with advanced adenomatous polyps, and was negative in 91 percent of subjects without colorectal cancer, for an overall accuracy of 92 percent.”
Not only can this blood test detect early colorectal cancers but it can also detect advanced polyps as well. This allows “selectivity” for gastroenterologists to identify patients at greater risk of developing cancer.
Once these advanced colonic polyps are removed, the patient has a 95 percent chance that they will not develop cancer in their lifetime.