The team compared the global gene expression profile of metastatic colorectal cancer with that of primary cancers, benign colorectal tumors, and normal colorectal epithelium.
This was to gain insights into the molecular basis for metastasis.
The findings of the study were published in this week's issue of Science.
Among the genes identified, the PRL-3 protein tyrosine phosphatase gene was of particular interest.
| PRL-3 gene important in colorectal cancer metastasis.
It was expressed at high levels in each of 18 cancer metastases studied, but at lower levels in nonmetastatic tumors and normal colorectal epithelium.
In 3 of 12 metastases examined, multiple copies of the PRL-3 gene were found within a small amplicon located at chromosome 8q24.3.
Author Saurabh Saha, of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, concluded on behalf of colleagues, "These data suggest that the PRL-3 gene is important for colorectal cancer metastasis and provide a new therapeutic target for these intractable lesions."