Previously researchers published in Nature the discovery of STING as a new cellular molecule that recognizes virus and bacteria infection to initiate host defense and immune responses. In the new study, published in Cell Reports, they describe STING's role in the potential suppression of colorectal cancer.
Using disease models of colorectal cancer, the team of scientists showed that loss of STING signaling negatively affected the body's ability to recognize DNA-damaged cells. In particular, certain cytokines - small proteins important for cell signaling - that facilitate tissue repair and anti-tumor priming of the immune system were not sufficiently produced to initiate a significant immune response to eradicate the colorectal cancer.
Researchers suggest evaluating STING signaling as a prognostic marker for the treatment of colorectal as well as other cancers. For example, the study showed that cancer cells with defective STING signaling were particularly prone to attack by oncolytic viruses presently being used as cancer therapies.
Alternate studies with have also shown that activators of STING signaling are potent stimulators of anti-tumor immune responses. Collectively, the control of STING signaling may have important implications for cancer development as well as cancer treatment.