The IBiS-Virgen del Rocío discovers a new circuit that leads to greater growth and malignancy of colon cancer



A team of researchers from the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville-IBiS, located in the University Hospital Virgen del Rocío, discovered a new circuit that leads to an increase in growth and malignancy of tumors. The work, which combines studies with tumor cell lines, animal models and databases of patients treated at the Sevillian hospital, was recently published in the journal Oncogene & # 39; of the Nature Publishing Group.

The results are of great importance to know the biology of the tumors and to determine their evolution. In addition, the PLD2 protein in which the studies were targeted may serve as a therapeutic target for the treatment of colon cancer and potentially other types of tumors.

In this way, they described the microenvironment in which the tumor is present, and in which a protein secreted by tumor cells in colon cancer causes changes. The tumor microenvironment consists of tumor and non-tumor cells, among which there are many interactions that contribute to the development of the tumor. To do this, they used tumor samples from patients treated at the University Hospital Virgen del Rocío, who obtained through the Biobanco of the Public Health System of Andalusia.

Specifically, the research concludes that the phospholipase D2 (PLD2) protein, which is expressed at abnormally high levels in patients with colon cancer, is secreted by tumor cells and alters the non-tumor cells of the microenvironment, causing them a situation that experts call it "senescence."

Senescence consists of a halting of the cell division of the cells that suffer it, although, nevertheless, they are able to secrete a series of factors that increase the tumorigenic capacity of the tumor cells. This establishes a circuit between tumor and non-tumor cells that leads to an increase in the number of tumor stem cells, which have a greater proliferative capacity than normal tumor cells, being similar to any other pluripotent stem cell.

The work was carried out by Dr. Sandra Muñoz Galván, as principal investigator, and led by Dr. Amancio Carnero, scientific researcher at CSIC.


Colorectal cancer is the most common tumor in the population and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women. It usually does not show symptoms in its initial phase, although it can be cured in 90 percent of cases if detected early, which is achieved with a simple stool test, indicated for the entire population between 50 and 69 years of age. the Ministry of Health's Early Detection of Colon and Hetero-Cancer Detection Program.

Experts in Digestive Diseases, led by Juan Manuel Bozada, attend high-resolution patients with suspected colon cancer, who undergo a colonoscopy or biopsy preferably through the colorectal cancer process, in collaboration with the professionals of the Radiodiagnosis Unit directed by Francisco Javier Castell or Pathological Anatomy, coordinated by Enrique de Álava.

The more complex cases are finally resolved in the operating room and are referred to the General Surgery Unit of the University Hospital Virgen del Rocío, led by Javier Padillo, who operates approximately 200 patients per year for colon tumors and about 80 for the rectum. For this, they use minimally invasive techniques, robotic surgeries and others more complex, according to the degree of pathology that the patient presents.


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