Dr. Sevtap Savas - September 19

Are the risks of disease outcomes in colorectal cancer related to the genetic polymorphisms?

My laboratory focuses on identification of genetic markers that can predict the risk of important clinical outcomes, such as recurrence and death, in colorectal cancer patients. In doing so, we hope to improve the current prognostic estimations in newly diagnosed patients, which may help better stratify them for clinical management (type, frequency and duration of treatment and diagnostic imaging during follow up examinations) and eventually help them survive longer and healthier.

Together with graduate students, research assistants and collaborators at the Newfoundland Colorectal Cancer Registry (NFCCR) and in other institutions, a number of projects are undertaken with a focus on genetic polymorphisms in the human DNA. Genetic polymorphisms exist commonly in the human genome (estimated number more than 10 million) and contribute to both genetic and phenotypic diversity of human. Our main hypothesis in our research projects is that the genetic polymorphisms or their combinations are associated with the survival times of colorectal cancer patients and thus can predict the risks of outcomes.

Our patient cohorts consist of over 1,000 colorectal cancer patients from Newfoundland. Patient and disease related variables (e.g. at diagnosis and stage of the tumor), prognostic information (e.g. whether the patients experienced recurrence or death or not over the follow up time, which ended in 2010) and for a portion of the patients the large-scale genetic data were obtained by NFCCR. This data is examined by several statistical methods suitable for our research questions including Kaplan Meier survival curves and Cox regression analyses.

In this presentation, I will first go through the basic facts about colorectal cancer, currently known prognostic markers, and the need to identify new prognostic markers. In the second part of my presentation, I will discuss the published results from my laboratory, including a manuscript of one of my graduate students (Negandhi et al. PLOS ONE, 2013).



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