Posted on Jan 06, 2016, 6 a.m.
A gene associated with the suppression of tumor growth, appears to play the opposite role in some forms of colorectal cancer.
With the exception of skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have found that a gene believed to suppress the growth of many types of cancer, Sprouty2, has the reverse effect in some forms of colorectal cancer. Lead author of the study, Sharad Khare, states “The gene known as Sprouty2 has previously been shown to protect against metastasis, or the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body, in breast, prostate and liver cancer.” Khare and his team studied Sprouty2 for over three years, implementing various molecular techniques in cancer cell models, mouse models and human biopsy samples. They discovered that this gene may actually promote metastasis, rather than suppressing it, and believe this may be due to the gene being up-regulated, or supercharged. Share cautions that this phenomenon may occur in only a small subset of patients with colorectal cancer and states that there should be more research to determine the connection between the up-regulation of the gene and life-expectancy of patients with colorectal cancer.
Q Zhang, T Wei, K Shim, K Wright, K Xu, H L Palka-Hamblin, A Jurkevich, S Khare. Atypical role of sprouty in colorectal cancer: sprouty repression inhibits epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Oncogene, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/onc.2015.365