Journal of translational medicine

N-myristoyltransferase: a potential novel diagnostic marker for colon cancer.

PMID 18021392


Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the western world. If detected early, colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Unfortunately, very few people are screened. N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) catalyzes myristoylation of various proteins including oncoproteins. We have demonstrated earlier the alteration of NMT activity during the progression of colorectal cancer and established NMT as a putative therapeutic target for cancer. Peripheral blood samples and bone marrow were collected from the colon cancer patients and azoxymethane induced colonic tumor rats and their controls respectively. NMT activity and expression was determined as reported earlier. Immunohistochemical studies were carried out using standard procedures. In this study we demonstrate for the first time altered expression and localization of NMT in the peripheral blood and bone marrow in colon cancer patients. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed weak to negative staining for NMT in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of controls, whereas strong positivity was observed in PBMC colon cancer patients. In addition, we observed that NMT was localized mostly in the nuclei of the bone marrow (BM) mononuclear cells of the colon cancer patients, whereas NMT remained cytoplasmic in the control bone marrow specimens. The strikingly different NMT expression offers the basis of a potential adjunct investigative tool for screening or diagnosis of patients at risk for or suspected of having colon cancer. Furthermore, altered localization of NMT in BM of tumor bearing hosts may serve as an added investigative tool for the diagnostic purpose.