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Overlooked DNA mutations “may increase survival chances for patients with colorectal cancer”

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British scientists have identified a group of overlooked DNA mutations in tumor cells. This may increase the chances of survival for people with intestinal cancer.

These mutations are present in mitochondrial DNA. Often known as the “powerhouse” of cells, these small structures help turn food into energy.

Mitochondrial mutations are known to be found in cancer cells, but little research has been done on what they do.

In a study funded by Cancer Research UK, researchers found that patients with colorectal cancer (a common form of intestinal cancer) with these mutations had an up to 93% reduction in their risk of dying from cancer. discovered.

They hope that their findings, published in the journal Nature Metabolism, will help identify people with more aggressive forms of intestinal cancer and provide more effective treatments.

Dr Payam Gammage, co-author and group leader at Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, said:

“This finding can have a significant impact on patient care and may change the patient’s outlook based on proposed treatments and the mitochondrial DNA status of the cancer.

“But more research is needed to move these findings from the lab to the clinic.”

Scientists analyzed data from 344 patients with colorectal cancer to identify groups of mutations associated with viability.

They found that the presence of mitochondrial DNA mutations was associated with a 57-93% reduction in the risk of death from colorectal cancer, depending on the type of mutation.

The team also examined existing data from more than 10,000 tumor samples across 23 cancers to search for frequently occurring mitochondrial mutations.

They found that mitochondrial mutations were present in nearly 6 out of 10 tumor samples.

These results indicate that mitochondrial mutations may play a role in survival beyond intestinal cancer, but researchers say further research is needed to understand the broader meaning. Said.

Dr. Ed Reznik, co-author of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said:

“The question now arises as to how these mutations in mitochondrial DNA can be used as drug discovery targets.”

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