Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism for esophageal cancer uncovered

Date:
April 11, 2011
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
A gene thought to be associated with cancer development can be a tumor suppressor gene in mice, researchers have discovered. Understanding which genes are involved in spreading cancer could lead to future therapies.

A gene thought to be associated with cancer development can be a tumor suppressor gene in mice, researchers have discovered. Understanding which genes are involved in spreading cancer could lead to future therapies.

"For cancer to spread, some genes are activated, while others that would prevent cancer growth are prevented from doing their jobs. The cancer research community has thought that the gene p120, falls into the latter category," said Douglas Stairs, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology, who completed this research at University of Pennsylvania and is now at Penn State College of Medicine. "In this research, the loss of the p120 gene led to the development of cancer."

Stairs worked with colleagues at Vanderbilt University to create a mouse model to study the gene. Called a knockout mouse, these specially bred mice do not have the p120 gene in their mouths and esophagi. Researchers then studied the mice to see if tumors formed in those areas. In 70 percent of p120 knockout mice, tumors formed.

Researchers observed that mice that had cancer had hyperactivated immune systems. Absence of p120 led to the production of immune cells that are pro-tumor generating and pro-cancer forming.

"For cancer, the immune system can both help and hurt the body," Stairs said. "Some immune cells help the body get rid of the cancer cells, while other immune cells help tumors to form. When p120 was absent, tumor promotion through the immune system was activated. The mice produced the bad types of immune cells." The researchers published their results in the journal Cancer Cell.

Researchers learned through further investigation that these "bad" immune cells traveled to the esophagus and improperly activated fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells that create the support structure for tissues. They are most noticeably activated when tissue damage occurs and scarring is a result of the fibroblast cells activating. Fibroblasts are also activated in cancer patients.

By improperly activating the fibroblasts, the immune cells were able to stay active longer than normal.

"Each feeds off the other," Stairs said. "It creates an environment that is very permissive for cancer development." Stairs is now working to identify which proteins are used to communicate between tumor cells and other cells in the tumor microenvironment -- the immune cells and fibroblasts. He aims to discover how cells that lose p120 interact with the immune system, which, in turn, interacts with the fibroblasts. "Once we know that," he said, "we can then potentially develop a strategy to break those relationships -- a therapy."

The creation of the p120 knockout mouse will also help other researchers, providing a model for esophageal cancer that did not exist before.

Other researchers are Lauren J. Bayne, Ben Rhoades, Maria E. Vega, Todd J. Waldron, Jiri Kalabis, Jonathan P. Katz, J. Alan Diehl, Robert H. Vonderheide and Anil K. Rustgi, University of Pennsylvania; Andres Klein-Szanto, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Ju-Seog Lee, MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Albert B. Reynolds, Vanderbilt University. The National Cancer Institute funded this work.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Douglas B. Stairs, Lauren J. Bayne, Ben Rhoades, Maria E. Vega, Todd J. Waldron, Jiri Kalabis, Andres Klein-Szanto, Ju-Seog Lee, Jonathan P. Katz, J. Alan Diehl, Albert B. Reynolds, Robert H. Vonderheide, Anil K. Rustgi. Deletion of p120-Catenin Results in a Tumor Microenvironment with Inflammation and Cancer that Establishes It as a Tumor Suppressor Gene. Cancer Cell, 2011; 19 (4): 470-483 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.02.007

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Mechanism for esophageal cancer uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103722.htm>.
Penn State. (2011, April 11). Mechanism for esophageal cancer uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103722.htm
Penn State. "Mechanism for esophageal cancer uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103722.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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