JAN 12, 2016 9:00 PM PST

Gene that stops tumors may spread colorectal cancer

A gene that is known to suppress the growth and spread of many types of cancer has the opposite effect in some forms of colorectal cancer.

The discovery may lay the foundation for new colorectal cancer treatments.
 
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

“The gene known as Sprouty2 has previously been shown to protect against metastasis, or the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body, in breast, prostate, and liver cancer,” says Sharad Khare, associate professor of research in the University of Missouri School of Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and lead author of the study that is published in the journal Oncogene.

“However, our recent molecular studies found that this gene may actually help promote metastasis instead of suppress it.”

For more than three years, researchers have studied Sprouty2 in cancer cell models, mouse models, and human biopsy samples. Using different molecular methods, the researchers found that the gene functions differently in colorectal cancer than in other types of cancers.

Sprouty2 is known to block molecular circuits to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. However, in colorectal cancer, Sprouty2 may increase the metastatic ability of cancer cells instead of suppress it. Khare believes this occurs when the gene is up-regulated, or supercharged.

Cancer deaths attributed to colorectal cancer are mainly due to tumor recurrence and metastasis to other organs. Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s estimated that the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20.

“This finding is a very significant step in our understanding of metastasis in colorectal cancer, but it’s important to note that we believe this phenomenon may occur in only a subset of colorectal cancer patients,” Khare says.

“We don’t yet know why this is the case, but we hope to determine if there is a correlation between the up-regulation of this gene and the life expectancy of patients with colorectal cancer. Future studies will help us understand who may be at risk, and ultimately, if personalized treatments can be planned to target this gene.”

The National Institutes of Health, a Veterans Affairs Merit Award, the MU Research Board Award and MU School of Medicine Bridge funded the work. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

This article was originally published on futurity.org
About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
AUG 12, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
AUG 12, 2021
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
Researchers have developed a new technology for the non-invasive diagnosis of thyroid cancer that combines photoacoustic ...
AUG 26, 2021
Cancer
COVID-19 Vaccination Induces Strong Immunity in Cancer Patients
AUG 26, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Induces Strong Immunity in Cancer Patients
Cancer patients have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from a COVID-19 infection.   Many cancer pati ...
SEP 02, 2021
Immunology
Hobit Activates Cancer-Killing Immune Cells
SEP 02, 2021
Hobit Activates Cancer-Killing Immune Cells
Innate lymphoid cells, or ILCs, are specialized immune cells that are increasingly entering the research spotlight. Thes ...
OCT 07, 2021
Cancer
Dual Threat: CAR T Cells Modified to Target Two Neuroblastoma Antigens
OCT 07, 2021
Dual Threat: CAR T Cells Modified to Target Two Neuroblastoma Antigens
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of immature nerve cells found in various areas, including the adrenal glands, neck, chest ...
OCT 12, 2021
Immunology
Cancer Drug Helps Alzheimer's Mice Remember
OCT 12, 2021
Cancer Drug Helps Alzheimer's Mice Remember
What if a drug—specifically developed to treat one disease—had the potential to address other non-related co ...
NOV 10, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Does Cannabis Use Reduce the Risk of Cancer?
NOV 10, 2021
Does Cannabis Use Reduce the Risk of Cancer?
In medical terminology, there are few terms as imposing as ‘cancer.’ According to the Centers for Disea ...
Loading Comments...