New epigenetic study reveals exciting insights into colorectal cancer progression

September 11, 2015, Nanjing University School of Life Sciences
Cancer — Histopathologic image of colonic carcinoid. Credit: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Researchers at Nanjing University, China, found new epigenetic markers for colorectal cancer which may offer a new approach for treatment.

Epigenetic alterations leading to colorectal carcinogenesis are thought to hold great promise for the development of novel, minimally invasive molecular biomarkers.

Scientists at the State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, China, have demonstrated that heterochromatin protein HP1γ was critical for CRC cell proliferation and could be specially regulated by miR-30a at the protein level.

"These studies have improved the chances that epigenetic biomarkers will find a place in the clinical practices of screening, early diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic choice and recurrence surveillance for CRC patients." says Professor Quan Zhao, who is one of the principal investigators at School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, China.

In the future Professor Zhao and his collaborators want to further investigate the role of these new markers in individual steps of invasion-metastasis cascade of CRC.

Key findings included:

  • HP1γ protein levels were significantly increased in primary CRC tissues compare to adjacent non-tumor tissues. Cancer correlation analysis indicated prognostic potential. Thus, HP1γ appears to be a promising biomarker for CRC and may provide an effective target for CRC therapy.
  • MiR-30a was down-regulated in CRC tissues, and exhibited a significant inverse correlation with the HP1γ . Further, HP1γ could be post-transcriptionally regulated by miR-30, which suppressed growth both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that miR-30a can serve as another potential prognostic biomarker for CRC, may also have promise as therapeutics.

Their study results are published in the OnlineFirst issue of Cancer Research (September 2, 2015; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472). Liu et al.: Heterochromatin HP1γ promotes colorectal progression and is regulated by miR-30a

Explore further: Serum miR-21 putative biomarker for colorectal cancer

Related Stories

Serum miR-21 putative biomarker for colorectal cancer

June 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—The oncogenic microRNA (miRNA) miR-21 is a potential biomarker for detection and prognosis of colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer ...

Study identifies a likely key driver of colorectal cancer development and progression

April 14, 2014
A new study identifies a molecule that is a probable driving force in colorectal cancer and suggests that the molecule could be an important target for colorectal cancer treatment and a valuable biomarker of tumor progression.

Reducing resistance to chemotherapy in colorectal cancer by inhibition of PHD1

August 19, 2015
Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven have shown that blocking the PHD1 oxygen sensor hinders the activation of p53, a transcription factor that aids colorectal cancer (CRC) cells in repairing themselves and thus resisting chemotherapy. ...

Promising blood biomarkers identified for colorectal cancer: Is a screening blood test within reach?

October 22, 2014
The search for blood-borne biomarkers that could be used to screen for colorectal cancer (CRC) has uncovered two promising candidates that may one day lead to the development of a simple blood test. Scientists have been piecing ...

Study shows colorectal cancer genetically different in older and younger patients

May 29, 2015
While the overall rate of colorectal cancer (CRC) is declining, CRC specifically among young patients is increasing. Previous studies have shown that CRC in patients younger than 50 years old tends to be more aggressive than ...

Poor survival among colorectal cancer patients tied to biomarker CSN6

August 10, 2015
A protein called CSN6 has been found to be correlated with poor survival among patients with colorectal cancer, according to a study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover new method of diagnosing cancer with malaria protein

August 17, 2018
In a spectacular new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered a method of diagnosing a broad range of cancers at their early stages by utilising a particular malaria protein that sticks to cancer ...

Researchers find pathways that uncover insight into development of lung cancer

August 17, 2018
Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, ...

Developing an on-off switch for breast cancer treatment

August 17, 2018
T-cells play an important role in the body's immune system, and one of their tasks is to find and destroy infection. However, T-cells struggle to identify solid, cancerous tumors in the body. A current cancer therapy is using ...

Pregnant? Eating broccoli sprouts may reduce child's chances of breast cancer later in life

August 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that a plant-based diet is more effective in preventing breast cancer later in life for the child if the mother consumed broccoli while pregnant. The 2018 ...

Scientists discover chemical which can kill glioblastoma cells

August 15, 2018
Aggressive brain tumour cells taken from patients self-destructed after being exposed to a chemical in laboratory tests, researchers have shown.

Three scientists share $500,000 prize for work on cancer therapy

August 15, 2018
Tumors once considered untreatable have disappeared and people previously given months to live are surviving for decades thanks to new therapies emerging from the work of three scientists chosen to receive a $500,000 medical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.