Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Otago research shines light on cancer cells

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New University of Otago research into tell-tale markers of cancer cells could help doctors identify whether the cells are more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

The impact of that knowledge could give doctors and patients a clearer idea of how aggressively the cancer cells spread and therefore inform treatment options.

The research was published this week in international journal Clinical Epigenetics.

Co-lead author Dr Euan Rodger, a Research Fellow in the University’s Department of Pathology, says early detection of how quickly a cancer is spreading could lead to significantly better outcomes for patients.

In the majority of cases where people die from cancer, it is cancer’s ability to spread from one organ to other organs which proves deadly. Being able to track cancer’s spread is therefore a key weapon in the fight to treat it, Dr Rodger says.

"In earlier research we discovered some new molecular changes to melanoma cells that made them more likely to spread to other organs.

"In this research, we wanted to see whether those new molecular changes were also present in the cells of other types of cancer and, while it is a bit mixed, in general the answer is yes, they are.

"And that’s significant, because we could in the future use this knowledge alongside treatments to help track how well the patient’s treatment is working."

The article, "Characterisation of DNA methylation changes in EBF3 and TBC1D16 associated with tumour progression and metastasis in multiple cancer types", was published on 5 August.

You can read it here:

Other authors on the paper are Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee, Dr Peter Stockwell and Professor Michael Eccles, from the University of Otago’s Department of Pathology.

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.