Researchers find how colorectal cancer stops the drugs attacking it

Researchers find how colorectal cancer stops the drugs attacking it

Cancer-associated Fibroblasts stop chemo working and repair damaged cancer cells

Cells in the colorectal ’tumour microenvironment’, or TEM, produce chemical compounds that provide a brake and stop chemotherapy working, according to David G. Molleví, PhD researcher of the Program Against Cancer Therapeutic Resistance (PROCURE) of IDIBELL (Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona).

While all the attention and hype of the drugs industry focuses on targeted drugs, patients with colorectal cancer are still routinely give two old and basic chemotherapies 5FU and oxaliplatin. And they frequently stop working after a short period.

Cells in the TEM have long been known to help colorectal cancer proliferate. These are called ‘Cancer-associated Fibroblasts’ (CAFs). Now the same same CAFs which produce molecules linked to tumour aggression and poor response to chemo, have been shown to trigger a ‘cell-signalling cascade’ which stops the chemo working. 

It was also found that the JAK/STAT pathway in particular helped repair cancer cell damage caused by chemotherapy drugs.

The research was recorded in the online journal Oncotarget.

Researchers thought that they might be able to develop drugs to stop this effect and provide them alongside the chemo.

Chris Woollams, founder of CANCERactive and a former Oxford University Biochemist added, “We have previously reported on seven clinical trials showing that Curcumin could greatly improve the effectiveness of these old-fashioned but highly used drugs. 5FU, for example was approved in 1956. We don’t seem to have developed anything better in 60 years!”.

GO TO: The role of gut bacteria in colorectal cancer

2016 Research
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