Stratification in Colorectal Cancer

S:CORT is an MRC and CRUK funded UK-wide multi-disciplinary stratified medicine consortium of clinicians, healthcare professionals, academics and scientists. The team seeks to apply cutting edge molecular diagnostic and histopathological technologies to improve and tailor the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.

Currently, clinicians prescribe chemotherapy, biological therapies, radiotherapy and different types of surgeries on the basis of only a few tumour morphology, genetic and demographic features. This means that many patients receive limited benefit from treatment with significant deleterious side effects (e.g. neuropathy). By undertaking comprehensive molecular analyses of tumour samples from CRC patients and correlating them with response/clinical outcome, S:CORT researchers hope to provide clinicians and patients with additional diagnostic tests and treatment options so that patients receive the optimal treatment combination.

In the short term, by being able to better predict patient response to treatment, standard therapies can be offered in a more targeted manner. The major impact of this is sparing patients with a low chance of response to standard treatments ineffective interventions and escalating quickly to more aggressive options. In the medium term, some highly treatment-sensitive patients may be able to have less aggressive or even no surgery. Longer term, a more detailed understanding of the fundamental biology driving treatment resistance is hoped to yield novel treatment strategies.

As of 2020, the S:CORT dataset is mature and contains linked anonymised datasets from 2000 colorectal cancer patients including transcripomic, genetic, methylation data linked to histological images and clinical data.  Collaborators wishing to access this dataset should contact Prof Tim Maughan.

Whose involved

S:CORT is led from Oxford by Professor Tim Maughan, however the consortium’s work is driven by leading clinical and scientific expertise from across the UK. Pathology expertise is provided by Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez (Queen’s University Belfast), Professor Philip Quirke (Leeds) and Prof. Viktor Koelzer (Universität Berne). The molecular analysis is led by Dr Philip Dunne (Queen’s University Belfast), Dr Andrew Beggs (Birmingham) and Peter Campbell (Sanger Institute). Informatics and statistical expertise are provided by Professor Francesca Buffa and Professor Chris Holmes (Oxford), and Rick Kaplan and Louise Brown (UCL). Professor Mark Lawler (Queen’s University Belfast) and Professor Joshua Hordern (Oxford) provide input on the economic and social impact of implementing S:CORT’s findings. Additional clinical and scientific leadership, input and oversight is provided by Professor Ian Tomlinson (Birmingham), Professor Simon Leedham (Oxford), Professor Dion Morton (Birmingham) and Professor Sabine Tejpar (UZ Leuven).

Read more about S:CORT on their website here.