SU2C-Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Dream Team: Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer (MEDOCC)


Gerrit A. Meijer, MD, PhD

Gerrit A. Meijer, MD, PhD
Group leader, Translational Gastrointestinal Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute


Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD

Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD
Co-director of Cancer Biology and Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer (after lung and breast) and the fourth leading cause of death from cancer around the world. Patients can be effectively treated when the tumor is detected and removed early; however, colorectal cancer tends to develop without symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. Screening is the most effective strategy against colorectal cancer. Although testing for blood in stool (using a test called FIT) is the standard approach, urgent improvements are needed as many cancers and precancerous lesions are missed by this test.

The Dream Team's first aim is to improve the current FIT screening test by looking for more specific tumor related molecules in stool samples. Their second aim is to develop a molecular blood test to help identify patients who will benefit from chemotherapy after surgery.

Progress to Date

The SU2C-Dutch Cancer Society Dream Team on Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer (MEDOCC) has found ways to improve the screening test that is now based on the detection of blood in stool samples by looking for more specific tumor-related molecules that may signal the presence of cancer. The team is also working to improve the identification of the 20 percent of early stage CRC patients with a poor prognosis who might benefit from chemotherapy.

The MEDOCC team has defined protein biomarker combinations that perform substantially better than the current test for population screening for CRC and has conducted pilot studies of several approaches of antibody-based assay development.

It has also developed novel methylation marker and optimized approaches for detection of circulating tumor DNA.  These approaches have been applied to analysis of early-stage patients with colorectal cancer and other tumor types.

Amount Of Funding:

€6 million (~$8 million)


​Manon van Engeland, PhD, program leader in oncology, Maastricht University Medical Center

Ernst J. Kuipers, MD, PhD, professor of gastroenterology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Evelien Dekker, MD, PhD, professor of gastrointestinal oncology, Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Miriam Koopman, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands


​Jolien C.M. Pon
Marcia K. Horn