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Deaths from colorectal cancer in

people under 55 are increasing. A

new study led by Professor Ronald

Evans, with first author Ting Fu and

collaborators, suggests that high-fat

diets fuel colorectal cancer growth

by upsetting the balance of bile acids

in the intestine and triggering a

hormonal signal that lets cancerous

cells thrive. The findings could

explain why colorectal cancer is

being seen in younger people growing

up at a time when high-fat diets are

common.

Advanced pancreatic cancer is often symptomless, leading to

late diagnosis after metastases have spread throughout the body.

Additionally, tumor cells are encased in a protective shield, a

microenvironment conferring resistance to many cancer drugs.

Professor Tony Hunter, first author Yu Shi and an international team

of collaborators uncovered the role of a signaling protein, LIF, that

may be a useful biomarker to help diagnose pancreatic cancer more

quickly and efficiently than current screenings methods.

LIF (green), expressed mainly in activated

pancreatic stellate cells, is shown along

with immune cells (purple) and cancer

cells (yellow) in pancreatic cancer tissue.

Colon cancer growth, as measured by the

number of dividing cells shown in green, is

dramatically increased when the FXR-regulated

gene network is disrupted by specific bile acids

or a high-fat diet.

DISCOVERIES

NEW STUDY TARGETS

ACHILLES’ HEEL OF

PANCREATIC CANCER

SALK SCIENTISTS

UNCOVER HOW

HIGH-FAT DIETS

DRIVE COLORECTAL

CANCER

GROWTH

CANCER

www.salk.edu/evans201908

WATCH

CELL

02/2019

NATURE

04/2019

6 INSIDE SALK

FALL 2019

WWW.SALK.EDU www.salk.edu/hunter201908

WATCH