Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, MD, FACP, discusses indicators of progression in colorectal cancer.
Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, MD, FACP, medical oncologist, medical director, Cancer Clinical Research Office, vice chair and section chief, Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses indicators of progression in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Indicators of progression fit together like a puzzle to determine whether a patient has progressed and requires additional treatment, says Bekaii-Saab. Three main factors should be considered when determining progression: the patient’s symptoms, the results of their most recent scan, and their cancer markers.
An increase in patient symptoms, including weight loss and pain, is a key indication of progression and should be relied on most, explains Bekaii-Saab. Scan results should be given second-highest priority, followed by changes in cancer markers, Bekaii-Saab adds. For example, a patient who has an inconclusive scan but is experiencing significant symptoms likely has disease progression. Conversely, a patient with minimal symptoms and clear scans whose cancer markers are increasing may not require subsequent therapy, concludes Bekaii-Saab.