Better analysis of bowel cancer tumours could produce improved outcomes for patients, researchers said.
A study published in the Journal of Pathology shows how precise integration of the results of different methods can ensure correct interpretation of data on the patient’s tissue.
Academics at Queen’s University Belfast said that approach provided a more accurate result which can underpin better treatment options for patients.
Dr Philip Dunne said: “This research shows the need for the modern cancer researcher to have an interdisciplinary skillset in order to fully and most accurately interpret data and its implications.
“To develop better treatments for individual patients, we must first understand the biology of that person’s tumour; this is the basis of personalised medicine in cancer.”
He said the findings were particularly relevant as clinicians were increasingly using molecular analysis to better understand the biology of cancer.
“This approach means that more precise treatment can be selected to treat a patient’s tumour,” he said.
Bowel (colorectal) cancer is the third most commonly occurring cancer in men and the second most commonly occurring cancer in women worldwide.
The global number affected is expected to increase by 60% to more than 2.2 million new cases and 1.1 million deaths by 2030.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK.
The study said better integration of pathological and molecular analysis of a tumour and normal tissue can ensure a correct interpretation of the data.
It was led by Dr Dunne, newly appointed lecturer in early cancer detection at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University, in collaboration with Dr Maurice Loughrey, consultant gastrointestinal pathologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and honorary senior lecturer at Queen’s.