Nav: Home

Study shows different genetic drivers of colorectal cancer in older and younger patients

January 21, 2016

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study being presented Saturday at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium shows genetic differences between colorectal cancer (CRC) in young and old patients, possibly pointing toward different treatments and strategies in combating the young form of the disease. Comparing 9 tumors from younger patients (median age 31) with 9 tumors from older patients (median age 73), showed "distinct genetic differences between younger and older patients with colorectal cancer," says Christopher Lieu, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and assistant professor of medical oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

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 CRC in older patients. The current study seeks to unpack the genetic cause of more aggressive behavior in the young form of the disease.

Toward that end, the group sequenced 45 million "reads" from each of the tested tumors, showing 141 genes that are enriched in samples from younger patients and a largely different cohort of 42 genes enriched in samples from older patients. Many of the enriched genes in samples from younger patients are involved in signaling pathways ERBB2, NOTCH3 and CAV1, which are known to spur cell proliferation commonly associated with cancer. In contrast, pathways enriched in samples from older patients included CDX2, HMGB3 and EPHB2, which are primarily involved not in cell proliferation, but in cell differentiation (the ability or inability of cells to move from stem-like cells to more specialized tissues).

The enrichment of ERBB2 (Her2/neu) in samples from younger patients is an especially interesting target given that there are FDA-approved therapies that target this particular gene.

The group plans to validate the finding of these differences in a larger patient population. Then, if these pathways indeed prove to be important drivers of CRC in young patients, the group hopes to explore trials of drugs targeting these potential tumor drivers. Toward this goal, the group has gathered the important resource of tumor samples grown from the tissues of young CRC patients, allowing further preclinical genetic and drug testing.

"If I were to shoot for the stars, I would say that our end goal is to be able to offer better treatments for this population of young colorectal cancer patients that seems to be at higher risk from the disease," Lieu says.
-end-
ASCO Abstract: http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/content/159892-173

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...