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August 20, 2008

Scientists Link Stem Cell Protein to Heightened Tumor Progression in Colorectal Cancer

  • A team of researchers determined that stem cell marker protein lamin A in the tissue of patients with colorectal cancer correlates to an aggressive form of the disease.

    The scientists studied tissue samples from 700 colorectal cancer patients and tracked their progress. The group was screened for expression of A-type lamins. The group then used the Cox proportional hazard ratio (HR) method to investigate patient survival.

    Using CRC cell lines, the team investigated the effects of lamin A expression on other genes by RT-PCR; on cell growth by FACS analysis; and on invasiveness by cell migration assays and siRNA knockdown of targeted genes.

    They found that lamin A is expressed in colonic stem cells and that patients with A-type lamin-expressing tumors have significantly worse prognosis than patients with A-type lamin negative tumors.

    The investigators found that the presence of lamin A does not affect cell proliferation but greatly promotes cell motility and invasiveness.

    The team now aims to develop a robust prognostic tool based on this finding, which is published in  the August 20 version of Public Library of Science One.

    Scientists from Durham University, the North East England Stem Cell Institute, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, and the University of Maastricht worked on this study.