Catching the Culprit in Colon Cancer

Receptor activation increases development of precancerous intestinal polyps

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TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The activation of a particular cellular receptor greatly increases the development of precancerous polyps in the intestine, says a Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center study in Feb. 2 online edition of Nature.

This is the first time that scientists have found evidence of this activation process. The findings may suggest a new strategy for preventing colorectal cancer by preventing activation of this cellular receptor.

The results also raise caution about a possible increased risk of colorectal cancer among people who take drugs that activate this receptor. Such drugs are currently in clinical development to treat obesity and atherosclerosis.

In this study, researchers found that mice with a specific genetic mutation - one that's found in 80 percent of people with colorectal cancer - had a fivefold increase in the number of larger colon polyps when they were given a compound that binds to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR-delta).

"This is extremely significant because it is these larger polyps that are most likely to develop into intestinal cancer," Dr. Raymond N. DuBois, associate director of cancer prevention, control and population-based research at Vanderbilt-Ingram, says in a prepared statemnent.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about colorectal cancer.

SOURCE: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, news release, Feb. 1, 2004

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