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Novel Molecular Mechanism Identified as Metastatic Regulator in Colon Cancer

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

According to a study published in Cancer Research, researchers have identified a molecular mechanism that seems to cause both the spread of cancer cells and the progression to metastases in patients with colorectal cancer. By recognizing molecules with a regulatory metastatic function, researchers hope to use a targeted approach to inhibit tumor growth in the future.

“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,” noted study author Pit Ullmann, PhD, of the University of Luxembourg, in a university press release.

Dr. Ullmann and colleagues compared cancer cells gathered from initial tumors to metastatic cells obtained from the same patient and observed a cluster of small molecules that served as a regulator for metastasis—miR-371~373. Combining computational and experimental analyses, researchers determined that a certain aggressive population of cancer cells had the miR-371~373 cluster deactivated. Once the authors reactivated the cluster, tumor growth slowed considerably. The results of this single-patient study were validated through a larger number of patient samples in cooperation with other national and international institutions.



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