A gene believed to suppress the growth and spread of cancer has the opposite effect in some forms of colorectal cancer, researchers have found.
Sprouty2 is the gene and the new paper studied it in cancer cell models, mouse models and human biopsy samples. Using different molecular methods, the researchers found that the gene functions differently in colorectal cancer than in other types of cancers. Sprouty2 is known to block molecular circuits to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. However, the researchers found that in colorectal cancer, Sprouty2 may increase the metastatic ability of cancer cells instead of suppress it. They believe this occurs when the gene is up-regulated, or supercharged.