Predictive and Diagnostic Biomarkers of Anastomotic Leakage: A Precision Medicine Approach for Colorectal Cancer Patients

Mark E. Gray, Jamie R. K. Marland, Alan F. Murray, David J. Argyle, Mark A Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Development of an anastomotic leak (AL) following intestinal surgery for the treat-ment of colorectal cancers is a life-threatening complication. Failure of the anastomosis to heal correctly can lead to contamination of the abdomen with intestinal contents and the develop-ment of peritonitis. The additional care that these patients require is associated with longer hos-pitalisation stays and increased economic costs. Patients also have higher morbidity and mortal-ity rates and poorer oncological prognosis. Unfortunately, current practices for AL diagnosis are non-specific, which may delay diagnosis and have a negative impact on patient outcome. To overcome these issues, research is continuing to identify AL diagnostic or predictive bi-omarkers. In this review, we highlight promising candidate biomarkers including ischaemic metabolites, inflammatory markers and bacteria. Although research has focused on the use of blood or peritoneal fluid samples, we describe the use implantable medical devices that have been designed to measure biomarkers in peri-anastomotic tissue. Biomarkers that can be used in conjunction with clinical status, routine haematological and biochemical analysis and imaging, have the potential to help deliver a precision medicine package that could significantly enhance a patient’s post-operative care and improve outcomes. Although no AL biomarker has yet to be validated in large scale clinical trials, there is confidence that personalised medicine, through biomarker analysis, could be realised for colorectal cancer intestinal resection and anastomosis patients in the years to come.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of personalized medicine
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Intestinal anastomosis
  • Anastomotic leak
  • Biomarkers
  • Precision medicine


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