Diagnostic test to predict metastatic progression of rectal cancer

Business opportunity

Leading scientists and clinicians at the Akershus University Hospital (Norway) have identified a mitochondrial DNA variant to predict metastatic progression of rectal cancer. High rates of systemic failure after curative-intent therapy in locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) call for new diagnostic tools to improve risk-based treatment stratification.

The test also function as a companion diagnostic test to identify metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients responding to immunotherapy.

Inven2 AS seeks partners for co-development of the diagnostic tests and/or licensing of the technology.


The scientist discovered that blood mtDNA polymorphisms correlate with the immune system’s control of organ metastasis and thus can be used as diagnostic marker.

Figure 1. Polymorphism of the 3105 site of whole blood mtDNA in 44 high-risk rectal cancer patients. Cases had either the wild-type site (heteroplasmy of 0) or a highly heteroplasmic variant (3105AC>A). Open circles; cases without progression. Closed circles; cases with metastatic progression. The single metastatic case in the high heteroplasmy group appeared in a patient who had declined primary tumor surgery (i.e., refused the full curative-intent therapy).


The actual mtDNA variants are single-base alterations and might thus be analyzed by PCR and developed as a feasible assay for metastatic risk assessment in colorectal cancer. The LARC-test selects patients at high risk of metastatic progression who need an intensified neoadjuvant treatment regimen. The mCRC test selects patient sub-groups for immunotherapy.


A patent application protecting the specified tests has been filed.



Aina Haugen Rengmark, Ph.D.

Aina Haugen Rengmark, Ph.D.

Technology Strategy Manager


+47 90 12 63 44