New method for blocking colon cancer growth identified

5 October 2016

Scientists have identified a new technique for blocking the growth of a common and dangerous form of colon cancer.

Boston University School of Medicine researchers have discovered a promising strategy to treat colon cancers caused by the mutant KRAS gene, which is responsible for approximately half of all cases of the disease.

The approach targets additional genes, most notably MEK and TAK1, that cooperate with KRAS to promote tumour growth. They can be blocked by selective therapeutic agents to suppress colon cancer cellular proliferation and viability.

Tests involving 40 colon cancer cell lines derived from human colon cancer samples showed that treatment with MEK and TAK1 inhibitors suppressed the growth of mutant KRAS-driven colon cancer cells significantly.

Dr Anurag Singh, assistant professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine, said: "We have uncovered a novel pathway in a subset of colon cancers driven by mutant KRAS gene activation, representing an important axis of vulnerability with the potential to selectively treat these types of tumours in the clinic."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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