Researchers discover new colon cancer therapeutic target

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer is the third most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer-related death in the country. Now, food science researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published a new study in Cancer Research that shows how a set of enzymes can potentially be used to prevent or treat the cancer.

The MC-38 cell line used in the study.

Darryl C. Zeldin, MD, a Kerafast providing investigator from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, was a co-researcher of the study. We were also excited to see the paper cite Kerafast’s MC-38 cell line, developed and made available by the National Cancer Institute.

Testing a Cytochrome P450 Hypothesis

The researchers tested the hypothesis that colon cancer is affected by the enzymes cytochrome P450 (CYP) monooxygenases and the fatty acid metabolites they form, known as epoxyoctadecenoic acids (EpOMEs).

They began by comparing healthy mice and mice with colon cancer by performing a comprehensive metabolomic analysis. They determined that the mice with colon cancer showed high levels of both EpOMEs and CYP monooxygenases. They also compared human colon cancer cells with normal colon cells and saw the same overexpression.

Using pharmacological and genetic approaches, the researchers then inhibited the CYP monooxygenase enzymes in mice with colon cancer, finding this suppressed tumor growth.

Expanding Upon the Outcome

The researchers also wanted to determine which metabolites were responsible for enhancing colon cancer. In an in vitro test, they discovered that EpOME – but not other CYP monooxygenase metabolites – increased inflammation in inflammatory and colon cancer cells. When cancerous mice were treated with EpOME, the size and number of their tumors also grew.

“We think this is a very interesting discovery,” senior author Guodong Zhang said in a press release. “Our research identifies a novel therapeutic target and could help to develop novel strategies to reduce the risks of colon cancer.”

Do you work in this line of research? Kerafast offers unique lab-made reagents for researchers exploring cancer, including the following related materials: