24 September 2020

Annemarie Boleij, Iris Nagtegaal & Daniele Tauriello, theme Tumours of the digestive tract, recieved the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) Grant to explore the role of bacteria on colorectal cancer metastasis.

Patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) have a 40-50% risk to develop metastasis, the main cause of mortality for this disease. The complex biology of the metastatic process remains incompletely understood but critically involves the tumor microenvironment (TME). The intestinal microbiota form part of the TME of the primary colorectal cancer (CRC), and increasing evidence show their effects on CRC initiation and progression. However, it is less clear what their influence is on metastasis. Our main aim is to provide a proof of concept for the functional relevance of either intestinal or hepatic microbiota on the formation and development of CRC liver metastasis. A secondary aim is to determine whether bacteria are also present at other metastatic sites in patients, such as the lungs and lymph nodes. To this end we will compare primary and metastatic tumors from patients, and utilize an orthotopic mouse model for CRC metastasis. Identifying if and how the microbial component contributes to (liver) metastasis. More importantly, more fully understanding the metastatic process will contribute to new leads for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

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