Nav: Home

Towards a better understanding of how colon cancer develops and progresses

September 11, 2018

Researchers from the University of Luxembourg have discovered a molecular mechanism that is responsible for the spread of cancer cells in the body and the development of metastases in patients with colon cancer. Their findings could help to develop treatments that inhibit tumor growth.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is among the most prevalent cancer types worldwide, with an estimated 1.3 million new cases and almost 700'000 deaths per year. The vast majority of CRC-related deaths can be attributed to metastatic spreading of the disease. Therefore, it is of utmost clinical relevance to understand the biology that underlies cancer progression and metastasis initiation.

The scientists from the Molecular Disease Mechanisms (MDM) group at the University of Luxembourg compared cancer cells derived from primary, i.e. initial, tumors to metastatic cells from the same patient. The researchers found that a group of small molecules, namely the miR-371~373 cluster, is responsible for the regulation of colon cancer metastasis. In an interdisciplinary approach, combining experimental and computational analyses, the research team observed that the miR-371~373 cluster is deactivated in a specific population of very aggressive, fast-growing cancer cells. After the scientists reactivated the cluster in a complex series of experiments, the growth of the metastatic cells slowed down significantly. "Cancer is a really complex disease. While our results are just one piece of the puzzle, they clearly contribute to a better understanding of tumor initiation and metastasis and might be an important first step for the development of novel therapeutic strategies," said Dr. Pit Ullmann, the lead author of the study that was published in the prestigious journal Cancer Research.

Together with national and international collaborators from the RWTH University Hospital Aachen, the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (IBBL), the Centre d'Investigation et d'Épidémiologie Clinique (CIEC), the Laboratoire National de Santé (LNS), and several hospitals around the country, especially the Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch (CHEM), the researchers were able to validate their results in patient samples from a large Luxembourgish colon cancer collection. "This kind of study is only possible if several groups with different expertise collaborate. Our partners have been very important throughout the project in order to assess the clinical relevance of our findings in colorectal cancer patients," commented Dr. Elisabeth Letellier, principal investigator of the study.

The large study was supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Fondation Cancer. "Competitive cancer research heavily relies on state-of-the-art techniques and the availability of high quality patient samples. The concerted effort of different groups, the interdisciplinary approach, and especially the financial support by the FNR, the Fondation Cancer, and other funding institutions were crucial for the successful completion of this project," said Prof. Serge Haan, the head of the MDM group.
-end-


University of Luxembourg

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.