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Patients with family history of colorectal cancer may be at risk for aggressive form of the disease
Date:12/12/2012

st author. "One of the signs of this deficiency, it was proposed, is hypomethylation of LINE-1. We wanted to find whether a family history of colorectal cancer creates a higher risk of such hypomethylation."

Fuchs is the paper's senior author.

In contrast to a small, previous study, which suggested that LINE-1 hypomethylated colorectal cancers cluster in certain families, the new study took a large-scale "prospective" approach to gain more definitive insights. Investigators used data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study -- which follow the health of tens of thousands of people for decades -- to see if participants who had a family history of colorectal cancer tended to develop colorectal cancer with low-level methylation of LINE-1.

"We found that, compared to individuals without a family history of colorectal cancer, people who had first-degree relatives affected with the disease indeed had a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer with hypomethylated LINE-1," Ogino says. "Because this variety of colorectal cancer can quickly become dangerous, testing colorectal cancer patients for tumor LINE-1 hypomethylation may offer a valuable way of identifying those in greatest need of aggressive treatment. Such testing could also help identify patients whose relatives may be at increased risk for the aggressive form of the disease. Further study is needed to determine how this type of testing can be used in a clinical setting."


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Contact: Bill Schaller
william_schaller@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-5357
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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