Researchers from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston have found a gene, which on mutation or damage leads to development of colorectal cancer. They have found that mutation or defect in this gene leads to development of colorectal cancer. The researchers have found that the gene, 06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), is responsible for development of colorectal cancer.
The study was conducted in 95 colorectal cancer patients and 33 people without cancer. The researchers found that methylation in the MGMT promoter region was found in 50% to 94% of colorectal cancer patients. Cancer begins in regions or sites where there are highly genetic alterations. These sites are called as field defects, which has molecular mismatch and molecular defects. In colorectal cancer cells, MGMT is often methylated, which means that the gene's promoter region has methyl chemical groups added to it, resulting in an unhealthy inactivation of the gene.
"Given the high lifetime risk of colorectal tumor development in the U.S. population, it is reasonable to propose testing, to determine whether healthy persons with MGMT promoter methylation in normal colorectal [lining] are at higher risk of developing a colon tumor than those without such methylation," the researchers wrote.