Liquid biopsy in guiding post-surgical management of colon-cancer patients

Liquid biopsy in guiding post-surgical

Promising preliminary results illustrated at the ESMO congress 2023

On the 23rd of October, 2023, a team of researchers that included many SAGITTARIUS partners attended the European Society of Medical Oncology’s congress 2023 (ESMO 2023), in Madrid, to present the preliminary results from the PEGASUS study, a clinical trial which provided the basis SAGITTARIUS is built on.

The PEGASUS trial tested the feasibility of using liquid biopsy, the new technology SAGITTARIUS will employ in its trial, to detect and monitor the residual microscopic disease status and guide adjuvant treatment choices.

PEGASUS results show that liquid biopsy, which is capable of detecting circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in patients’ blood after surgery, could help guide the post-surgical management of colon cancer patients. Presented data received very positive feedback from the ESMO audience and the scientific community at large.

The PEGASUS study is a multicentre, prospective trial launched in 2019 sponsored by the IFOM-ETS Institute and supported by AIRC, receiving funding from the AIRC Foundation under a 5x1000 research program coordinated by IFOM’s scientific director, Alberto Bardelli. The PEGASUS project has been designed and led by a team coordinated by Silvia Marsoni, head of the Precision Oncology Unit at IFOM-ETS, in Milan, who is also the SAGITTARIUS scientific coordinator.

Coordinated by Marsoni-IFOM, within a network of 11 Italian and Spanish centres of excellence in oncology supervised by Salvatore Siena and Josep Tabernero of the Val d’Hebron Cancer Center, the medical oncology teams in PEGASUS were led by other researchers collaborating in SAGITTARIUS. They were Clara Montagut (Hospital del Mar), Elena Élez (Val d’Hebron Institute of Oncology), Salvatore Siena (Oncology and Hematology Department of the University of Milan and Niguarda Cancer Center), and Andrea Sartore-Bianchi (Niguarda Cancer Center), alongside F. Pietrantonio Fondazione at IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori A, S. Lonardi at Istituto Oncologico Veneto, A. Cervantes at Hospital Clinic Universitari de Valencia, M. G. Zampino at Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, C. Santos Vivas at Institut Català d’Oncologia, M. Mandalà at Ospedale S. Maria della Misericordia di Perugia, S. Tamberi at AUSL della Romagna and S. Sciallero at Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, with the support of a team of statisticians led by V. Torri at Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS in Milan.

Visit ESMO daily reporter for a commentary from the official ESMO newspaper on the studies confirming the promise of circulating tumor DNA detection for the assessment of the residual microscopic disease in colorectal cancer. Read here and here what Italian press said about PEGASUS.

PEGASUS is where the SAGITTARIUS project laid its foundations. Building on PEGASUS experience, SAGITTARIUS will assess the use of liquid biopsy to detect signs of colon cancer in patients after surgery, guide patients’ post-surgical treatment and personalize the therapeutic approach. Find out more about the project!

Project contact: Silvia Marsoni -

Media contact:

In order to facilitate the use of our website, we use cookies.

Please confirm if you accept cookies. When declining the cookies, you can continue visiting the website without sending data to third party services. Read our complete cookie statement here.