Institute publishes colon cancer discovery

Published 7:32 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Discoveries about the metastasis of colon cancer were published this week in EBioMedicine, a leading peer reviewed, open access journal.

The research was led by Drs. Tatyana Zykova, Feng Zhu, Lei Wang, Haitao Li, Ruihua Bai, Do Young Lim, Ke Yao, Ann M. Bode and Zigang Dong.

With 90 percent of all cancer deaths arising from metastasis from a primary tumor — and about 25 percent of colon cancer patients experiencing detectable liver or lung metastasis — the findings are significant. Scientists now better understand the molecules contributing to the metastasis phenotype, the pathways they control and the genes they regulate with these important data. The data will help improve metastasis prognosis and prevention in the clinic.

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Researchers identified TOPK and PRPK as new, important targets for anti-metastatic therapy in patients with colon cancer. Scientists found that TOPK is highly expressed in human metastatic colorectal cancer tissue compared with malignant adenocarcinoma. The Hormel Institute team concluded that TOPK directly promotes metastasis of colorectal cancer by modulating PRPK. The function of PRPK has not been elucidated and the research showed that this kinase is involved in promoting metastasis of colon cancer to the liver.

The conclusion is that TOPK and PRPK are important targets for anti-metastatic therapy in patients with colon cancer and that PRPK is a novel prognostic marker for survival of patients with colon cancer.

“We are excited about these data that provide a better understanding of both prevention of metastasis and prognosis of colon cancer treatment,” said Dr. Tatyana Zykova in a press release. “The work is meaningful in that the discoveries could help in our understanding of human colorectal cancer and how to treat it successfully.”

Going forward, The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota scientific team, will expand on these research results to continue to identify the causes and progression of colorectal cancer leading to discoveries for its successful prevention and treatment.