July 24, 2024

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Researchers are breaking the dogma that intestinal tumors do not always arise from stem cells

Researchers are breaking the dogma that intestinal tumors do not always arise from stem cells

Ask a cell biologist how cancer arises and the answer will be: through a mutation in a stem cell. In a new one Posted in Nature genetics Scientists from Erasmus MC are breaking this dogma. They showed that an intestinal tumor can also arise from a specialized cell type, such as an intestinal cell that produces mucus or antibacterial molecules.


The research leader explained that the researchers made their discovery because of the contradiction Ricardo Fodi Outside. The main risk factors for colon cancer, namely chronic inflammation and Western eating habits, ensure stem cell suppression. If stem cells disappear under these conditions, they can’t be the origin of cancer, right? Furthermore, we know from previous research that specialized intestinal cells revert to a type of stem cell in response to tissue damage caused by inflammation, to repair the intestinal wall. Could a specialized intestinal cell be the origin of intestinal tumors that arise in the context of inflammation?

This hypothesis turned out to be correct. In mice with a genetic predisposition to cancer in specialized intestinal cells, tumors developed once the intestine was inflamed. Foody and his colleagues showed that the origin of these intestinal tumors was not a stem cell, but rather a specialized intestinal cell.

The scream of terror

Then the researchers noticed something else. Not only do the mice’s intestinal tumors resemble those found in people with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but they also resemble intestinal tumors in people without such a condition. Use PhD candidate Mathijs Verhagen Machine learning To predict that about 40 percent of human intestinal tumors arise in a specialized intestinal cell.

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“This result gave me goosebumps,” says Foody. “This number is much higher than we expected.” We believe this can be explained by chronic inflammation caused by Western diets, or “snack culture,” in the gut. This leads to the loss of stem cells and the activation of specialized cells, which can then develop into a tumor. This happens not only to a relatively small group of colon cancer patients with IBD, but to many people.

Often young patients

Researchers link this to a worrying development: colon cancer has become, by definition, a disease of aging Increasingly common in young people He was diagnosed. “Our results confirm suspicions of a relationship between a Western lifestyle, chronic inflammation, and the development of colon cancer at an early age, possibly from specialized cell types.”

The researchers say their findings are also important because they may lead to a new classification of colon cancer. Foody: “Intestinal tumors that arise from specialized cells have a worse prognosis than tumors that arise from intestinal stem cells.” The researchers hope that the updated classification will improve predictions of disease course and personalized treatments.