New Approach Found in Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Newly discovered epigenetic markers offer hope.

Newly discovered epigenetic markers offer hope.

A recent discovery by Chinese scientists may lead to a new treatment approach.

The researchers found epigenetic alterations that cause colorectal carcinogenesis offer significant promise. The study found the heterochromatin protein HP1γ is vital for colorectal cancer (CRC) cell proliferation and may be specially regulated at the protein level by miR-30a.

"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,” said principal investigator Quan Zhao, a professor at the School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, China.

Researchers discovered that HP1γ protein levels are significantly elevated in primary CRC tissues compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues, which offers prognostic potential, according to the study. As a result, HP1γ is thought to be a promising CRC biomarker and an effective treatment target.

It was also found that MiR-30a is down-regulated in CRC tissues, which revealed a significant inverse correlation with the HP1γ protein level. HP1γ may also offer a potential prognostic CRC biomarker that can be targeted for treatment.

Researchers plan to further analyze these new markers in the separate process of the CRC invasion-metastasis cascade.