Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Differences Between Early And Advanced Melanomas Could Provide New Drug Targets

Date:
March 13, 2007
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
The cell-signaling molecule Akt is a primary trigger that leads malignant melanomas on the skin's surface to begin growing vertically beneath the skin and turn into deadly invasive cancers, scientists have found. Understanding this key molecular difference between radial melanomas that spread on the surface of the skin and melanomas that grow vertically and invasively could provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat individuals with advanced stage melanomas.

The cell-signaling molecule Akt is a primary trigger that leads malignant melanomas on the skin's surface to begin growing vertically beneath the skin and turn into deadly invasive cancers, scientists have found. Understanding this key molecular difference between radial melanomas that spread on the surface of the skin and melanomas that grow vertically and invasively could provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat individuals with advanced stage melanomas.

Radial melanomas that have not spread below the skin can be treated surgically and have a survival rate of 98 percent beyond five years, according to the American Cancer Society. But when melanomas grow downward, the tumors become highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and the five-year survival rate falls rapidly, to 64 percent if the disease has reached the lymph nodes and 16 percent if it has spread to other organs.

The discovery of Akt's significant role in the progression of melanomas was made by scientists in the Department of Dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine and published in the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Senior author is Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, and lead author is Baskaran Govindarajan, PhD.

When the scientists introduced the gene for Akt into radial growth melanoma cells, the cells expressed nearly eight times as much of the growth factor protein VEGF. VEGF is known to be a powerful stimulator of angiogenesis the growth of microscopic blood vessels that nourish cancerous tumors and lead to unregulated cell growth. When melanoma cells overexpressing Akt were introduced into immunocompromised (nude) mice, the mice developed aggressive tumors that expressed high levels of VEGF, whereas a control group of mice developed no tumors.

Another result of Akt overexpression was the increased production of reactive oxygen (ROS). Reactive oxygen is created during cellular metabolism and has long been associated with triggering angiogenesis and the resulting growth of tumors. The scientists also found that the Akt-induced melanoma cells produced more of the enzyme NOX4, one of the NOX family of genes known to increase generation of ROS and to trigger angiogenesis.

The scientists also found that in cells with greater Akt expression, there was an increase in impaired mitochondria-- the energy factories of cells. Their research showed, however, that these mutations in mitochondria were likely the result of the prolonged exposure to increased oxidative stress caused by Akt overexpression, but that the mitochondrial mutations were not essential for the aggressive growth of melanomas induced by Akt.

"Our research shows that Akt overexpression on its own is sufficient to transform radial growth melanoma cells into highly invasive tumors via reactive oxygen pathways," says Dr. Arbiser. "This could provide us with promising targets for anti-cancer drug therapy. We will continue to work on refining the exact mechanisms of how Akt influences the aggressive growth of melanomas."



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Molecular Differences Between Early And Advanced Melanomas Could Provide New Drug Targets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312152049.htm>.
Emory University. (2007, March 13). Molecular Differences Between Early And Advanced Melanomas Could Provide New Drug Targets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312152049.htm
Emory University. "Molecular Differences Between Early And Advanced Melanomas Could Provide New Drug Targets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312152049.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins