Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer
Early Detection Dream Team: Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer

Grant Term: April 2015–September 2022

The SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society (DCS) Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team has set out to rework and improve the existing fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for colorectal cancer, which fails to detect approximately one-third of cancers and more than two-thirds of precancerous lesions. The team’s overarching goal is to move highly sensitive molecular testing for colorectal cancer to the next level so it can be regularly used in clinical settings.

Supported by:


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth-most common cancer (after lung and breast) and the second-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 the fecal immunochemical test, or FIT) is the standard approach, improvements are urgently needed as many cancers and precancerous lesions are missed by this test.

The SU2C–DCS Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team first aim is to improve the current FIT screening test by looking for more specific tumor-related molecules in stool samples. Its second aim is to develop a molecular blood test to help identify patients who will benefit from chemotherapy after surgery.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–DCS Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team.

Dream Team Members

Gerrit A. Meijer MD, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute

Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University

Veerle Coupé, PhD
VU University Medical Center Amsterdam
Principal Investigator

Evelien Dekker, MD, PhD
Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
Principal Investigator

James G. Herman, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Principal Investigator

Miriam Koopman, MD, PhD
University Medical Center Utrecht
Principal Investigator

Ernst J. Kuipers, MD, PhD
Erasmus Medical Center, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Principal Investigator

Manon van Engeland, PhD
Maastricht University Medical Center
Principal Investigator

Marcia Horn
International Cancer Advocacy Network

J.G. (Joop) Kroes
Foundation for Patients With Cancer of the Digestive Tract

Janneke van Denderen
Netherlands Cancer Institute
Project Manager

“We believe that we can reduce death from colorectal cancer by providing a more accurate screening test as well as a disease recurrence test that will be cost effective and simple for the patient.”

Gerrit A. Meijer, MD, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–DCS Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team.



Novel Stool-Based Protein Biomarkers for Improved Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Case–Control Study
Bosch LJW, de Wit M, Meijer GA, et al. (2017)
Annals of Internal Medicine 167(12):855-86.
Evolution of Neoantigen Landscape during Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer
Valsamo A, Baylin SB, Pardoll DM, Velculescu V et al. (2017)
Cancer Discovery 7(3):264–76.
Direct Detection of Early-Stage Cancers Using Circulating Tumor DNA
Phallen J, Meijer G, Velculescu V, et al. (2017)
Science Translational Medicine 9(403).

Clinical Trials Referrals

Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At, you’ll find clinical trial information, answers to common questions, and a free clinical trial finder tool.



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