LAHORE - With the rapid advancement in medicine, the role of pathologists in the management of patients with colorectal (large intestine) cancer has greatly expanded from traditional analyzers of samples to clinical consultants for gastroenterologists, surgeons, oncologists and medical geneticists.

Addressing a seminar on colorectal cancer here at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Thursday, Prof Dr Ilyas from University of Nottingham, UK, said that pathologic analysis provided histologic and molecular information critical to appropriate patient diagnosis, treatment and family counselling.

Prof Ilyas elaborated the significance of biomarkers and ‘6 Ps’ (predisposition, pharmacogenetics, prognosis, profile, prediction and pharmacotherapeutics) in colorectal cancers. He said that technology had almost reached the point where whole genome sequencing should be integrated with digital pathology and liquid biopsies.

Globally, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer making up about 10 per cent of all cancers. It is more common in developed countries where more than 65 per cent cases are found. It is less common in women than men.

Earlier, UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Aslam said the incidence of this disease was increasing and unfortunately the prognosis remained poor for most patients.

“The identification of those patients who are at a high risk of the disease is important in selecting the appropriate treatment”, he added.

The UHS VC further said that despite the continuing use of histopathology as the “gold standard”, the genetic features of colorectal tumours would almost certainly become useful indicators of prognosis and of the most appropriate treatment.