Signal Transduction

Imaging cancer cell by cell

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Science  14 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6543, pp. 699
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6543.699-a

Colored scanning electron micrograph of a colon cancer cell


Experience in treating colorectal cancer shows that inhibition of the oncogene-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is often more effective if the activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor, which acts upstream to activate the pathway, is also inhibited. To help clarify how such combined treatment might work, Ponsioen et al. used single-cell imaging of activity of the MAPK extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) in patient-derived organoids. Oncogene-induced signaling showed that oscillations in ERK activity were amplified by epidermal growth factor signaling. The results help to explain how improved clinical practices in colorectal cancer treatment have been achieved.

Nat. Cell Biol. 23, 377 (2021).

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