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26 Apr 2013

US research hints at new methods for identifying colorectal cancer

A study from the US has identified potential methods for detecting colorectal cancer.

A team of researchers has uncovered a novel mechanism explaining the root cause of colorectal cancers, which could lead to the development of new ways to detect the disease.
Published in Cell, the study explained that errors in DNA created during DNA replication can cause cancer, with cells possessing DNA mismatch repair (MMR) machinery that tries to correct these errors.
Defects in MMR genes can cause colorectal cancers, however, which are characterised by frequent alterations in repetitive DNA sequences.
According to the study, defects in the enzyme SETD2 can prevent the association of MMR proteins with damaged DNA, thereby preventing MMR.
Dr Guo-Min Li said: "This study provides new clues to cancer etiology, that is, from the classical genetic defects to abnormal epigenetic modifications in the future."
She explained that SETD2 mutations have been observed in other cancers, including lung and gastric cancer, as well as in MSI-positive MMR-competent colorectal cancers.

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