An inflammation-related enzyme could play a role in colon cancer.
An enzyme that plays an active role in inflammation could be a natural way to suppress tumors and ulcers in the colon that are found in colitis associated cancer (CAC), a type of colorectal cancer that is driven by chronic inflammation, according to a new study.
Researchers at Georgia State University and Stony Brook University have identified the tumor suppressor role of matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP9), which belongs to a family of enzymes called proteinases and serves as an essential regulator of extracellular matrix components via a novel mechanistic pathway. The findings are reported in the journal Oncotarget.
“In the setting of chronic inflammation, MMP9 expression functions as a silver lining by suppressing the advancement of the tumor microenvironment in CAC,” said Dr. Pallavi Garg, assistant professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State.
Inflammation can be a beneficial response to tissue damage or pathogens, but if unregulated it can become chronic inflammation and induce malignant cells in tissue that lead to cancer. Inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, involves inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract. Patients with chronically active ulcerative colitis have a significantly higher risk (up to 50 percent depending on the group of subjects) of developing CAC, a subtype of colorectal cancer. The risk of CAC increases with the duration of the disease and the severity of inflammation.
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