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

Pancreatic cancer's addiction could be its end

November 13, 2018
Cancer cells are often described as cells "gone bad" or "renegade." New research reveals that in some of the deadliest cases of pancreatic cancer, these rebellious cells have an unexpected addiction. Now, scientists are investigating ...

Cognitive decline—radiation—brain tumor prevented by temporarily shutting down immune response

November 13, 2018
Treating brain tumors comes at a steep cost, especially for children. More than half of patients who endure radiation therapy for these tumors experience irreversible cognitive decline, a side-effect that has particularly ...

Solving the mystery of NPM1 in acute myeloid leukemia

November 13, 2018
Although it has long been recognized that mutations of gene NPM1 play an important role in acute myeloid leukemia, no one has determined how the normal and the mutated forms of the protein NPM1 function.

Study finds promising therapeutic target for aggressive type of breast cancer

November 13, 2018
A new Nature Communications study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers suggests that an enzyme known as Prolyl 4-hydroxylase subunit alpha-1 (P4HA1) is a potential therapeutic target for triple negative ...

Scientists shine new light on link between obesity and cancer

November 12, 2018
Scientists have made a major discovery that shines a new, explanatory light on the link between obesity and cancer. Their research confirms why the body's immune surveillance systems—led by cancer-fighting Natural Killer ...

Obesity both feeds tumors and helps immunotherapy kill cancer

November 12, 2018
A groundbreaking new study by UC Davis researchers has uncovered why obesity both fuels cancer growth and allows blockbuster new immunotherapies to work better against those same tumors.

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.