Colorectal cancer (CRC) is on the rise among younger patients. Although some cases of younger-onset CRC can be explained by hereditary factors, most arise spontaneously. Researchers have found that CRC tumors in younger persons may be molecularly distinct from those of older persons, and that these differences are related to the way genes are switched on and off (epigenetics) in the tumors of the younger patients. In a medical breakthrough, two Indian scientists have discovered that dopamine -known as the happy hormone -can also kill tumors.
An analysis of genetic mutations in tumors from 126 patients younger than 50 years and 368 patients 50 years and older was presented and Tumors from two groups of CRC patients were analyzed. The first included patients treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering; and the second, patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas, a project aiming to catalogue cancer-causing genetic mutations, run by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). Younger patients with CRC tend to be treated more aggressively, though currently there is no other difference in the therapies used.