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aCGH Crystal Ball Reveals Clues to Colorectal Cancer Metastasis

Over 1 million people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) worldwide each year, making it the second and third most common cancer in women and men, respectively. A majority of these patients die as a result of metastasis occurring primarily in the liver, followed by spread to other organs. It has previously been demonstrated in human breast cancer that metastases to bone and lung can be caused by (epi)genetic alterations originally taking place in the primary tumor. In a recently published study, Mekenkamp and coworkers from various Dutch University Medical Centers characterized specific clinico-pathological features and genomic aberrations of the primary tumor in CRC patients with hepatic versus extrahepatic metastases. Using array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) with Enzo’s CGH labeling kit for oligo arrays, they determined that patients with hepatic metastases had significantly more gains at chromosome 20p11 than patients with extrahepatic metastases. Comparison of tumors with and without 20p11 gain revealed 12 genes with expression levels that were significantly increased by the occurrence of 20p11 gain, namely XRN2, NXT1, GZF1, NAPB, CSTL1, CST3, CST5, C20orf3, ACSS1, ENTPD6, PYGB, and ABHD12. Of these 12 differentially expressed genes, C20orf3 showed the strongest correlation between copy number status, RNA expression and protein level. These promising findings could ultimately lead to the establishment of new prognostic models capable of predicting hepatic metastatic spread, and the development of liver-specific anti-metastatic therapies.

Enzo’s CGH labeling kits deliver excellent DNA yields with superior dye incorporation leading to the highest specific activity of labeling available on the market. Enzo Life Sciences also has a comprehensive portfolio for epigenetic analysis tools including deacetylation and methylation detection kits, antibodies, and biochemicals, some of which are described below:


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  • Mekenkamp LJM, et al. Chromosome 20p11 gains are associated with liver-specific metastasis in patients with colorectal cancer. Gut (2013) 62: 101..

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