How colorectal cancer cells spread to the liver
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IMAGE: Researchers at SBP target miR-200s and ADAR2 in regulating metastasis of colon cancer cells. view more 

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La Jolla, Calif., April 24, 2018 – Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The main cause of death in patients with colorectal cancer is liver metastasis, with nearly 70% of patients eventually developing a liver tumor. Recent research has revealed low levels of a tumor suppressor called protein kinase C zeta (PKC zeta) in human colorectal cancer cells and distant metastasis, but it has not been clear how thiscontributes to the spread of tumors and poor prognosis in patients.

A new study by Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) researchers helps explain the connection between PKC zeta and metastatic colorectal cancer. Published in Cell Reports, the research describes how PKC zeta deficiency promotes liver metastasis through the inactivation of an enzyme called ADAR2 and the subsequent secretion of molecules called miR-200s from cancer cells into the blood. In addition, treatment with a compound that inhibits the secretion of miR-200s significantly reduced liver metastasis in mice with colorectal cancer.

“Our findings suggest that elevated blood levels of miR-200s could serve as a non-invasive diagnostic marker

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