Recent Insights into the Pathogenesis of Colorectal Cancer

Ajay Goel; Clement Richard Boland

Disclosures

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2012;26(1):47-52. 

In This Article

Conclusion

A number of common genetic variations (SNPs) associated with CRC risk play a critical role in the cause of CRC by modifying the expression of target genes that regulate cell behaviors. Our genome encodes hundreds of miRNAs, some of which play key roles in human cancer by regulating the expression of a cascade of other genes. The roles of SNPs and miRNAs represent examples of how parts of the genome once assumed to be 'junk' have been shown to play an important role in cancer. Similarly, the importance of the epigenetic silencing of genes has been recognized in CRC, and this has been linked to a deletion that occurred outside of the gene mediating the disease. Curiously, recent progress has occurred by finding variations or aberrations outside of the coding regions of the genes that play a more proximate role in regulating cellular behavior. Much of the recent progress has occurred by looking in some of the more unlikely places in the genome.

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