High pro-neurotensin levels and increased colon cancer risk
Neurotensin (NT) is tridecapeptide hormone that is released in response to ingested fats. It plays an important role in the regulation of gastrointestinal physiology, where it promotes proliferation of the intestinal mucosa. NT also stimulates growth of several cancers via expression of NT receptor 1, but any potential link between NT and colon cancer risk has not been explored.
Li et al. utilised data from the Kentucky Colon Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Study, which contained 1040 colon cancer cases and 1750 population-based individuals, each with lifestyle and epidemiological data, pathology information and fasting blood samples. Of these, 223 cases and 223 controls were randomly selected and frequency-matched on age, gender and body mass index, using the propensity score matching technique. Plasma levels of pro-NT, a stable NT precursor fragment, were measured by immunoassay in blinded samples.
On average, concentrations of pro-NT were significantly higher in cases than in controls. High concentrations of pro-NT were associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, independent of other known risk factors. Multivariate logistic regression modelling showed statistically significant risk associations for pro-NT with an OR estimate of 1.30 (95% CI=1.03–1.64; P =0.026) for each increment of 175pmol/l. The authors suggest that circulating levels of pro-NT may have utility as a biomarker for colon cancer.
Read the full article in Endocrine-Related Cancer 27 641–646