Mäkinen will explore whether field cancerization may contribute to multifocal small intestinal NETs. She theorizes that the expansion of groups of abnormal cells in normal small intestines may lead to the development of multiple independent tumors.
What question will the researchers try to answer?
Can simultaneous, multiple small intestinal NETs arise from “fields” of abnormal cells in a histologically normal small intestine that create the substrate for tumors to develop due to carcinogenic alterations?
Why is this important?
At the time of diagnosis, about one in three small intestinal NET patients harbor multifocal tumors. The mechanisms by which these multifocal NETs arise are not yet understood, hampering the development of precision treatments.
What will researchers do?
Mäkinen will use state-of-the-art, high-throughput technologies to uncover the role of field cancerization in the development of multifocal small intestinal NETs.
How might this improve the treatment of NETs?
Uncovering how multifocal tumors arise could inform decisions regarding treatment, surgery, and patient outcome.
What is the next step?
Should Mäkinen’s research reveal genetic or epigenetic causes of multifocal small intestinal NETs, this information would fuel research aimed at finding ways to interrupt NET development.