Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Encouraging' skin cancer discovery: P-Rex1 plays key role in spread of malignant melanoma

Date:
December 6, 2011
Source:
Association for International Cancer Research
Summary:
Scientists have made an important discovery in the fight against malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In a new study, researchers have shown that a specific gene (P-Rex1) must be present before malignant melanoma can spread.

Scientists in Glasgow have made an important discovery in the fight against malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Unlike most other cancers, malignant melanoma is disproportionately higher in younger people than in other age groups. More than two young adults (aged 15-34) in the UK are diagnosed with the disease every day.

While survival rates have been improving for the last 25 years and are now amongst the highest for any cancer, malignant melanoma still causes around 46,000 deaths worldwide each year -- around 2,560 of those in the UK. The high death rate is due to cancer cells breaking away from the original tumour and spreading or 'metastasising' to other organs like the brain, causing them to fail. It is its ability to metastasise that makes cancer so dangerous.

Using a grant from the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), Professor Owen Sansom and his team at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research have shown that a specific gene (P-Rex1) must be present before malignant melanoma can spread.

In research just published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, Professor Sansom and his colleagues demonstrated the key role that P-Rex1 plays in the spread of malignant melanoma.

Using mice models which mirror the common human genetics of melanoma, the researchers found that if P-Rex1 was absent from the cells, the melanoma tumours were unable to spread. Further investigation enabled them to decipher the exact mechanism that P-Rex1 uses to drive metastasis and which is blocked when P-Rex1 is removed.

They then clearly confirmed that human melanoma samples, taken from patients' tumours, contained raised levels of P-Rex1.

Said Professor Sansom: "By contrast P-Rex1 is not present in most other normal human cell types, pointing up its suitability as a gene to be 'switched off' with chemotherapeutic drugs, as there are unlikely to be any unwanted side effects on nearby healthy cells.

"As malignant melanoma is resistant to many forms of chemotherapy, these findings are encouraging. Earlier studies using cancer cell lines implicated P-Rex1 in prostate, breast and ovarian cancer but this is the first time it has been shown to be involved in the metastasis of melanoma in mice models as well as being present at high levels in human tumours and cell lines where it drives invasion into surrounding tissue.

Dr Lara Bennett, scientific communications manager for AICR said Professor Sansom's discovery was an excellent example of how basic research, like that funded by AICR, can help form the building blocks for future treatments.

"Although it is early days and more research is needed, if drugs could be designed to block the effects of P-Rex1, melanoma could be prevented from metastasising," she explained. "This would ensure it remained on the surface of the skin where it could easily be removed through surgery, leading to higher survival rates."

Malignant melanoma incidence rates in Britain have quadrupled over the last thirty years with around 11,760 cases diagnosed in the UK each year and almost 200,000 worldwide.

"If malignant melanoma is caught sufficiently early -- while still only a very thin tumour in the top layers of the skin -- survival rates are much higher," said Dr Bennett.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Colin R. Lindsay, Samuel Lawn, Andrew D. Campbell, William J. Faller, Florian Rambow, Richard L. Mort, Paul Timpson, Ang Li, Patrizia Cammareri, Rachel A. Ridgway, Jennifer P. Morton, Brendan Doyle, Shauna Hegarty, Mairin Rafferty, Ian G. Murphy, Enda W. McDermott, Kieran Sheahan, Katherine Pedone, Alexander J. Finn, Pamela A. Groben, Nancy E. Thomas, Honglin Hao, Craig Carson, Jim C. Norman, Laura M. Machesky, William M. Gallagher, Ian J. Jackson, Leon Van Kempen, Friedrich Beermann, Channing Der, Lionel Larue, Heidi C. Welch, Brad W. Ozanne, Owen J. Sansom. P-Rex1 is required for efficient melanoblast migration and melanoma metastasis. Nature Communications, 2011; 2: 555 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1560

Cite This Page:

Association for International Cancer Research. "'Encouraging' skin cancer discovery: P-Rex1 plays key role in spread of malignant melanoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205102311.htm>.
Association for International Cancer Research. (2011, December 6). 'Encouraging' skin cancer discovery: P-Rex1 plays key role in spread of malignant melanoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205102311.htm
Association for International Cancer Research. "'Encouraging' skin cancer discovery: P-Rex1 plays key role in spread of malignant melanoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205102311.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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