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Funding announced for clinical trial that aims to improve the outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer after surgery

CCTG C029 looks at a simple blood test detecting circulating tumour DNA after surgery to better select chemotherapy options

The CCTG CO29 trial, chaired in Canada by Dr. Jonathan Loree at BC Cancer, has been awarded $1,426,724 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Spring Project Competition. This funding will support the Canadian contribution to the DYNAMIC-III international trial, led by the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG). Researchers are examining whether circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) can be used to better select chemotherapy and improve the outcomes of patients after surgical removal of their colorectal cancer.

“This clinical trial will evaluate a new blood test to better predict which patients require additional treatments to increase their chance of cure and which patients do not, allowing us to avoid toxic treatments in patients who have a very low risk of recurrence,” says Canadian co-Chair Dr. Jonathan Loree, BC Cancer Medical Oncologist and Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death in Canada and one-third of patients diagnosed will have cancer that spreads to their lymph nodes. While surgery is often used to treat these patients, half will have the cancer return.

If surgery was not successful in removing all of the cancer, fragments of cancer DNA (ctDNA) can enter the blood stream. Detecting ctDNA after surgery may identify patients most likely to have cancer come back and help determine who should get extra chemotherapy after surgery.

Senior Investigator Chris O'Callaghan
SI Chris O'Callaghan

CCTG will oversee conduct of the trial at 35 Canadian centres and Dr. Loree, the CCTG colon cancer chair will lead the trial in Canada as well as oversee important correlative analyses of tissue samples.

"The DYNAMIC-III | CO29 trial continues a very successful, decades long collaboration between the CCTG and the AGITG,” says CCTG Senior Investigator, Chris O’Callaghan. “This international collaboration has resulted in national and international practice-changing research, improving the lives of patients suffering from a variety of gastrointestinal cancers."

This trial aims to change the standard of care for adjuvant therapy in stage III colorectal cancer by reducing toxicity and improving outcomes.