Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery Of Widespread Tumor Growth Gene Holds Promise For Effective Anti-cancer Treatment

Date:
September 25, 2007
Source:
European Cancer Conference
Summary:
Scientists have found a widespread mechanism for the stimulation of tumor growth in humans, and that this is leading to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This research may be key to the identification of signalling molecules that promote or inhibit the formation of metastases.

Italian scientists announced on September 24 that they have found a new and promising target for anti-tumour therapy in cancer.

Professor Saverio Alberti, from the CESI, University of Chieti Foundation, Chieti, told the European Cancer Conference that he and his team have found a widespread mechanism for the stimulation of tumour growth in humans, and that this is leading to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Professor Alberti and his team have discovered the function of the Trop-2 gene, a product of the TACTD2 gene, which is expressed in placenta, an 'invasive' normal tissue. "The function of Trop-2 was a mystery until now," says Professor Alberti, "but knowing its expression in the trophoblast (cells forming the outer layer of the blastocyst -- the stage between the fertilised egg and the embryo) during pregnancy, we thought that it might well be involved in another invasive function -- tumour growth."

The scientists analysed the genes in human tumours and found that Trop-2 was expressed in the vast majority of human cancers, for example, breast, colon, stomach, lung, prostate, ovary, endometrium, uterine cervix and pancreas. Over-expression of the Trop-2 gene was also found when immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of 1,755 tumours was undertaken.

IHC analysis looks at the interaction of antibodies and antigens in tissues, and has the advantage of showing exactly where in a tissue a given protein is located. "This has allowed us to develop anti-Trop-2 monoclonal antibodies for immunotherapy (modulation of the immune system to reject and destroy tumours) of Trop-2 expressing tumours," explains Professor Alberti.

Trop-2 over-expression was found in between 65% and 90% of the tumour types analysed, with an average of 74% across the board. "These figures are high," explains Professor Alberti. "In comparison, telomerase over-expression, possibly the most fundamental mechanism for cell immortalisation, is observed in 80% of all tumours.

Telomerase is an enzyme that adds specific DNA repeats to the ends of chromosomes, so not strictly comparable. When we come to look at genes, her2/neu is a key determinant of breast cancer aggressiveness and is over-expressed in 25% of the cancers, and amplified in only a subgroup of them; and p53, possibly the most fundamental of tumour suppressors, is mutated and/or over-expressed in 50% of tumours.

Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) are relatively infrequent in most cancers, reach 30% of the non small-cell lung cancers and are present at frequencies of around 75% in only a small subgroup of the latter. Most other markers known to date show lower figures and/or can be detected at high frequency in only a subgroup of tumours, for example PSA in prostate cancer. So Trop-2 really stands out."

"It is also a unique marker of cancer metastases in different tumour types -- including colon, stomach, breast, and ovary in man -- and across a number of species," he says. In man, most metastases in lymph nodes or down-stream organs, for example liver in colon cancer, express higher levels of Trop-2 compared with the primary tumours. Trop-2 induces these metastases through mechanisms that the scientists are beginning to unravel.

The most intriguing of these findings, they say, is the presence of two sequence elements in the Trop-2 cytoplasmic tail, the signalling engine of Trop-2, which act as, respectively, an enhancer and a silencer of metastatic propensity. This may be the key to the identification of signalling molecules that promote or inhibit the formation of metastases.

"If we can identify such molecules we will be approaching a situation where we could influence their activity and hence either encourage or prevent it," says Professor Alberti. "This could be an important step towards stopping cancer in its tracks."

In addition, the scientists want to extend their knowledge of the cell changes induced by receptor activation, or signal transduction pathways, triggered by Trop-2. "This will be crucial for the better understanding of the way in which tumour growth is regulated by the gene, and will also provide additional targets for anti-cancer drugs," says Professor Alberti. "We are very excited about the prospects for therapy which we can see arising from this discovery."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

European Cancer Conference. "Discovery Of Widespread Tumor Growth Gene Holds Promise For Effective Anti-cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924123027.htm>.
European Cancer Conference. (2007, September 25). Discovery Of Widespread Tumor Growth Gene Holds Promise For Effective Anti-cancer Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924123027.htm
European Cancer Conference. "Discovery Of Widespread Tumor Growth Gene Holds Promise For Effective Anti-cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924123027.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
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