Colon cancer statistics

Start with your cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with stage II colon cancer, you may be familiar with the statistics above.

The last point here is where we start: 20% of stage II colon cancer patients recur within their lifetime. The problem is, how do you know if you’re at risk of being in that 20% of patients who will recur?

Your healthcare team has to make a decision about whether or not you are likely to recur in the near future. If they decide that you have a high risk of recurring, your doctor may want to follow up your surgery with chemotherapy to help lessen that risk. If you are identified as having a low risk of recurrence, your doctor may decide against chemotherapy and observe your cancer for signs of progression rather than put your body through a rough treatment that may not give you enough benefit to be worthwhile.

Historically, doctors have used clinical and pathologic markers such as your age, sex, T stage, and MMR (mismatch repair) status to judge whether you are likely to recur. However, these methods are not consistently reliable in predicting a patient’s true risk of recurrence. You and your doctor can benefit greatly by adding another resource to determine your cancer’s risk of coming back after surgery before you make a decision about how your treatment should proceed.

What is GeneFx® Colon?

Genomic testing helps to discover what is making your tumor grow by taking a look at which genes are expressed.

GeneFx Colon is a genomic test that is run on your own tumor sample. The test analyzes the expression of specific, relevant genes and determines whether or not you are at a high or low risk of recurrence in the next five years after surgery.

Here’s how it works: After surgery and diagnosis, your doctor sends a sample of your tumor to Helomics in a specialized kit. In our lab, technicians analyze your tumor for the expression of a specific set of genes. An algorithm uses the results of your gene expression to give you a risk score. You are then categorized as either “high risk” or “low risk” and the results are sent to your doctor.

GeneFx Colon process gene expression

Your doctor now has a powerful tool in his or her treatment arsenal. Now that you both know what your risk of recurrence is, you can see more clearly whether or not chemotherapy would benefit you or if observation would be a better route.

What does my score mean?

A patient who is identified as high risk of recurrence by GeneFx Colon has a 2.5 times higher risk of recurrence within five years of initial surgery than a patient identified as low risk. This difference is highly significant and it separates this test from other tests that aim to accomplish the same goal.

What else do I need to know?

Most patients do not need to undergo any additional surgery for this test. Your doctor will send some of the tissue that comes from your initial surgery.

You may be a candidate for GeneFx Colon testing if you have recently been diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about ordering the test.

Talk to your doctor

GeneFx Colon must be ordered by a physician and must be ordered after your surgery so that your doctor can send a sample of your tumor for testing. Talk to your doctor about whether GeneFx Colon can help in your treatment path to make sure you get the level of treatment that you need. Your doctor will call Helomics Client Services and arrange shipment of a test kit. After your surgery, a sample of your tumor will be sent to Helomics for testing.


Kennedy R, et al: Development and Independent Validation of a Prognostic Assay for Stage II Colon Cancer Using Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Tissue. J Clin Oncol 29:4620-6, 2011