Royce Zhou, MD/PhD Candidate Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Inflammation Leads to Epigenetic and Metabolic Changes that Benefit Cancer. Interview with:

Royce Zhou, MD/PhD Candidate Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Royce Zhou

Royce Zhou, MD/PhD Candidate
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study?

Response: The background of this story is to see whether things outside of the cancer cell, such as the tumor microenvironment, can lead to epigenetic changes within the cancer cell. These changes are largely believed to be due to factors inside the cell, not outside.

Super-enhancers are the top 1-2% of enhancers in the genome. They control cell identity genes and oncogenes in cancer. What are the main findings?

Response:  Using patient samples, we find that the tumor microenvironment can form super-enhancers within cancer cells. One formed super-enhancer regulates a gene called PDZK1IP1 which is poorly understood. We show this gene is important for colorectal cancer tumor growth. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Inflammation leads to epigenetic and metabolic changes that benefit cancer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: The use of patient specimens allows for more robust identification of epigenetic changes in cancer. This super-enhancer would not have been found using colorectal cancer cell lines, only primary tumors. In cancer cell lines, the regulated gene PDZK1IP1 is silenced.

No disclosures. For Ramon Parsons’ disclosures, please see here:

R.E.P. owns equity in Therapten. Ramon Parsons receives royalty payments from Cullgen and Therapten. R.E.P. gives industry-sponsored lectures at the Lurie Cancer Center and the University of Southern California Cancer Center. R.E.P. reports other activities with Columbia University and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.


Royce W. Zhou et al, A local tumor microenvironment acquired super-enhancer induces an oncogenic driver in colorectal carcinoma, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-33377-8

The information on is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.



Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD