According to a recent study, the location of the colon cancer can determine the chances of survival of the patient. The investigation was held at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF).

Patients with metastatic colon cancer developed on the left side of the colon were found to survive longer than patients with the disease on the right side of the organ.

Colon Cancer survival determined by tumor location
A study conducted at UCSF suggests that survival from colon cancer may be determined by the tumor’s location. Credit:

The research suggests that colon cancer is not a single disease but a number of different diseases originated at one side. The investigation concluded that treatments for the diseases should be different on each side of the organ.

Alan P. Venook is the head author of the study held by the UCSF, who along with a research team, investigated several colon cancer patients to determine the differences between left-side colon cancer and right-sided colon cancer.

Researching colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is the development of cancer from the colon to the rectum and different sides of the large intestine. It and is due to abnormal growths of cells that grow and invade different parts of the body.

Signs of the disease include blood in the stool, change in bowel movements, weight loss and feeling sleepy and tired all the time. This type of disease commonly develops in older adults or in patients with genetic historic of the disease.

UCSF recently issued an investigation on the disease. The results will be discussed at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), but preliminary information has been published at the university’s newsroom.

“It is very clear that the biology of the colon on the right side is different from the biology on the left side. Previous research suggested that tumor location could affect clinical outcomes, but the effects we observed in this trial appeared to be far great than we expected,” said Venook in a press release.

The investigation studied 293 patients with right-sided tumors and 732 patients with left-sided primary tumors since 2004. The data from the investigation was used back in 2014 to determine the chances of survival of patients with the disease.

The first study showed 29 months of survival for terminal colon cancer patients where five percent of the patients survived for more than five years. This changed the statistics of past decades that showed less survival time.

When studying the data for this new research, patients with colon cancer on the right side had a median age of 61 years while patients with left-sided colon cancer had a median age of 57 years. More than a half of the studied patients were older men.

The survival rates for the patients resulted in 33.3 months for left-sided colon cancer patients and 19.4 months for the right-sided colon cancer patients.

All of the studied subjects were treated with first-line chemotherapy. Patients with left-sided cancer survived for 36 months with the treatment and patients with right-sided colon cancer survived for 16.7 months.

This gave investigators a better understanding of the diseases, clarifying the fact that each side is a different disease that should be treated differently, for survival expectations.

Researchers hope to discuss the findings on this year’s ASCO where 30,000 oncology professionals will gather to dig deeper into cancer diseases and the way they should be treated.

Source: UCSF