Oncogene May Identify Patients At Risk Of Colon Cancer Recurrence

Ajay Goel, Ph.D. Investigator/Professor Director, Center for Gastrointestinal Research Director, Center for Epigenetics, Cancer Prevention and Cancer Genomics Baylor Research Institute and Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center Baylor University Medical Center Dallas, TX 75246MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ajay Goel, Ph.D. Investigator/Professor
Director, Center for Gastrointestinal Research
Director, Center for Epigenetics, Cancer Prevention and Cancer Genomics
Baylor Research Institute and Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center
Baylor University Medical Center
Dallas, TX 75246

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Goel: Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains one of the most common and lethal malignancies worldwide, and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Although there are some improvements in cancer treatments, such as development of novel chemotherapeutic drugs and technical advances in invasive treatment for metastatic lesion, there is a clear need for prognostic biomarkers that can identify high-risk patients, who can benefit from intensive post-treatment surveillance protocols for early detection of recurrence.

Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are one of the largest groups of single-stranded small ncRNAs, and in the past, snoRNAs were recognized for housekeeping functions due to their roles in rRNA maturation, while causing a relatively low impact on cellular homeostasis. However, recent evidence has revealed a new and previously unrecognized role of snoRNAs in the control of cell fate and oncogenesis in various cancers.

The main finding of this study is to firstly demonstrate the clinical impact of snoRNA expression as a predictive biomarker of recurrence and poor prognosis in patients with Colorectal cancer. This study for the first time showed that higher levels of SNORA42 were associated with overall and disease-free survival, and emerged as a risk factor for the return of cancer in another part of the body. It was also correlated with high risk of recurrence and shorter survival in a smaller sample of bowel cancer patients in early stages of their disease.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Goel: Our study highlights the clinical significance of snoRNA expression in CRC as a potential diagnostic biomarker and as a possible predictive biomarker for the identification of high-risk patients with Colorectal cancer, especially stage II patients. Furthermore, we provide a novel evidence for the biological significance of SNORA42 in disease progression of colorectal neoplasia using a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments. Taken together, these results underscore the potential of SNORA42 expression as a useful molecular biomarker for selecting high-risk patients that may receive more personalized treatments in future.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Goel: In this study, we successfully revealed the role of SNORA42 as a clinically promising biomarker, and the investigation of snoRNAs as potential biomarkers and drivers of disease progression represents an unexplored area of cancer biology and has enormous potential clinical significance. These data set the stage for future studies based upon the recognition for the role of snoRNAs in cancer biology, and their role as disease markers for colorectal, and potentially other human cancers.

Citation:

Gut. 2015 Oct 15. pii: gutjnl-2015-309359. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309359. [Epub ahead of print]

Clinical significance of SNORA42 as an oncogene and a prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer.

Okugawa Y1, Toiyama Y2, Toden S1, Mitoma H3, Nagasaka T4, Tanaka K5, Inoue Y5, Kusunoki M5, Boland CR1, Goel A1.

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Ajay Goel, Ph.D. (2015). Oncogene May Identify Patients At Risk Of Colon Cancer Recurrence 

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