Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HEF1/NEDD9: a missing link to Colorectal Cancer progression



Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in the United States and equally a big problem in many parts of the world. The promise of personalised medicine is now a clinical reality, with colorectal cancer genetics at the forefront of this next major advance in clinical medicine. This is no more evident than in the recent advances in testing of colorectal cancers for specific molecular alterations in order to guide treatment with the monoclonal antibody therapies cetuximab and panitumumab, which target the epidermal growth factor receptor. Today an important publication came online that found HEF1 also known as NEDD9 as one of the important proteins that regulate tumor progression in colorectal cancer. Interestingly, for last 5 years or so I have been working on the same molecule and other members of this protein family commonly known as Cas family proteins.
http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/onc2010632a.html


      Though, authors' claim about HEF1 being an attractive drug target in colorectal cancer is little misleading for those who are not aware of the biology of the protein. HEF1 does not have enzymatic activity, thus can not be targeted by conventional cancer therapeutics. However, other proteins which are part of same signaling network which encompasses HEF1 and are known drug targets, can well be targeted to disrupt to treat the colorectal cancer progression. I think it is important to mention here my own recently published work which describes the potential of HEF1/NEDD9 being used as predictive biomarker for multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in other cancers:
 http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/70/21/8907.short?rss=1


      My hunch is that HEF1 expression level in colorectal cancer  is going to prove as an important predictor of therapeutic response with regard to conventional chemotherapeutic agents as well as molecular targeted therapies either successfully being used in clinic or those that are still being explored in clinical trials. I wish to thank this team of researchers for such a nice work, which I am sure will attract attention of translational researchers to explore it further with regard  to colorectal cancer.

 For those who wish to know more about basic facts of colorectal cancer, please go to:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/cancer-advances-in-focus/colorectal

1 comment:

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