What is the topic of this study?

Not all bowel cancers are the same – some act far more aggressively than others. Understanding which tumours are likely to act most aggressively and why at the time of diagnosis is very important to decide on an appropriate treatment plan.

One component of tumours, and indeed healthy tissue, is the mesh of proteins that provide the structured environment, or matrix, that the cells inhabit. This matrix interacts with cells and can influence their behaviour. In cancer, tumour cells can change which proteins make the matrix. This in turn can help the tumour cells to undergo further changes that are required for them to grow rapidly and spread to other organs.

What is the aim of this study?

This study aims to identify the key differences in the composition of the matrix in the most aggressive subtype compared to the other bowel cancer subtypes. This could potentially provide new targets for future personalised bowel cancer treatments.

The research team

Dr Luca Urbani leads this research team based at King’s College London and the University of Bologna.