Cell type switch helps colon cancer evade treatment, a study suggests.
Early-stage colon cancers can be surgically removed but later stages of the disease require more targeted treatments, including therapies designed to block a signaling pathway that promotes colon cancer progression. Eva Marina Schmidt
at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and Professor David Horst
(now Charité Berlin) have now discovered that colon cancers are often resistant to existing drug treatments because they are composed of two different cell types that can replace each other when one cell type is killed. The study, which is published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine
, suggests that combination therapies targeting both cell types at once may be more effective at treating colorectal cancer, the third highest cause of cancer-related death.