Patients with family history of colorectal cancer may be at risk for aggressive form of the disease
BOSTON—When people with a family history of colorectal cancer develop the disease, their tumors often carry a molecular sign that the cancer could be life-threatening and may require aggressive treatment, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists report in a new study.
The finding, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, draws on data from studies that have tracked the health of tens of thousands of people over several decades. It suggests that colorectal cancer patients could one day have their tumor tissue tested for the molecular sign, and, if necessary, receive more powerful therapies and a familial cancer-risk assessment for their relatives. It further suggests that such patients' relatives could be eligible for more frequent colonoscopies to catch the disease at the earliest possible stage.
When people with a family history of colorectal cancer develop the disease, their tumors often carry a molecular sign that the cancer could be life-threatening, report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists. The finding suggests it may be possible to identify colorectal cancer patients who should receive more aggressive therapies and whose relatives may be at increased risk for the aggressive form of the disease.
Unlike other abnormalities that raise the risk of colon cancer in some families, the newly discovered sign is not linked to a gene mutation that can be inherited from one's parents or grandparents. It appears in DNA segments that are thought to have entered the human genome millennia ago, possibly through infection by retroviruses. These sections, known as long interspersed nucleotide element 1 (LINE-1), are sprinkled throughout the human genome and make up about 17 percent of our DNA. Normally, LINE-1 doesn't cause much trouble, because it's blanketed by methyl groups (packets of one carbon atom bound to three hydrogen atoms).
In the current study, researchers led by Dana-Farber's Shuji Ogino, MD, PhD, MS, and Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, found that for many colorectal cancer patients with a family history of the disease, the LINE-1 in their tumor cells was nearly bare of methyl groups (a condition known as hypomethylation).
"Previous studies have suggested that some colorectal cancers exhibit an instability of the epigenome, the cell's system for controlling when genes are active," says Ogino, the paper's first author. "One of the signs of this deficiency, it was proposed, is hypomethylation of LINE-1. We wanted to find whether a family history of colorectal cancer creates a higher risk of such hypomethylation."
Fuchs is the paper's senior author.
In contrast to a small, previous study, which suggested that LINE-1 hypomethylated colorectal cancers cluster in certain families, the new study took a large-scale "prospective" approach to gain more definitive insights. Investigators used data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study—which follow the health of tens of thousands of people for decades—to see if participants who had a family history of colorectal cancer tended to develop colorectal cancer with low-level methylation of LINE-1.
"We found that, compared to individuals without a family history of colorectal cancer, people who had first-degree relatives affected with the disease indeed had a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer with hypomethylated LINE-1," Ogino says. "Because this variety of colorectal cancer can quickly become dangerous, testing colorectal cancer patients for tumor LINE-1 hypomethylation may offer a valuable way of identifying those in greatest need of aggressive treatment. Such testing could also help identify patients whose relatives may be at increased risk for the aggressive form of the disease. Further study is needed to determine how this type of testing can be used in a clinical setting."
Journal reference: Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Genes may determine aspirin's effect on advanced colon cancer Oct 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- High weight associated with risk of colorectal tumors without microsatellite instability Mar 06, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Family history and screening for colorectal cancer Jun 09, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Updating family history of cancer associated with need for earlier or more intense cancer screening Jul 12, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Colorectal cancer survival advantage in MUTYH-associated polyposis Nov 02, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
3 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The surgical management of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in U.S. hospitals varies widely depending on the race of the patient, according to a new study.
Cancer 6 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Treatment with an Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (A1-PI), a naturally occurring protein that protects lung tissue from breakdown and protects the lung's elasticity, is effective in slowing the progression of emphysema in patients ...
Cancer 28 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have bioengineered a novel molecule which has been proven to successfully kill tumour cells.
Cancer 46 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An article published on the journal Nature describes the major role that Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) —an enzyme of cellular energy metabolism— plays in the regulation of the cellular senescence induce ...
Cancer 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the School of Medicine have shown that their previously identified therapeutic approach to fight cancer via immune cells called macrophages also prompts the disease-fighting killer T cells ...
Cancer 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In a remote fishing community in Venezuela, a lone fisherman sits on a cliff overlooking the southern Caribbean Sea. This man –– the lookout –– is responsible for directing his comrades on the water, ...
37 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A novel approach to obstructing the runaway inflammatory response implicated in some types of asthma has shown promise in a Phase IIa clinical trial, according to U. S. researchers.
31 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
36 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Regardless of pain, social class or age, a woman is more likely to be prescribed pain-relieving drugs. A study published in Gaceta Sanitaria (Spanish health scientific journal) affirms that this phenomenon is inf ...
56 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Clinical measurement of physical activity appears to be an independent predictor of whether or not patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will end up being hospitalized, according to a new study conducted ...
16 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
The negative effects of poorly controlled asthma symptoms on sleep quality and academic performance in urban schoolchildren has been confirmed in a new study.
32 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0