Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential target for epithelial ovarian cancer treatment identified

Date:
April 7, 2014
Source:
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Summary:
Researchers who are investigating the biological mechanisms behind metastatic epithelial ovarian cancer recently found that an enzyme called focal adhesive kinase (FAK) can play a critical -- and previously unstudied -- role in the growth and spread of the disease. FAK, which is also known as PTK2, helps cells adhere to each other and to other substances It also mediates multiple normal processes that are often disrupted or corrupted in cancer cells, including cell growth, proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and migration.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer: Advanced-stage disease has a low survival rate, and in a vast majority of patients, the disease has already spread to other organs at the time of diagnosis because the symptoms are difficult to identify. Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers who are investigating the biological mechanisms behind metastatic epithelial ovarian cancer recently found that an enzyme called focal adhesive kinase (FAK) can play a critical -- and previously unstudied -- role in the growth and spread of the disease. The research will be presented on Monday, April 7 at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014.

Related Articles


FAK, which is also known as PTK2, helps cells adhere to each other and to other substances It also mediates multiple normal processes that are often disrupted or corrupted in cancer cells, including cell growth, proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and migration. Previous research suggests FAK may play an important role in many types of cancer, including breast, cervical, brain and others, and the drug has been investigated as a diagnostic marker or even a therapeutic target in invasive or advanced breast cancer.

Research done by Fang Xiao, MD, PhD, Research Associate at Fox Chase, and Denise Connolly, PhD, Associate Professor at Fox Chase, led them to identify the importance of FAK in ovarian cancer, but the enzyme wasn't part of their investigation at the beginning.

They initially set out to study a transcription factor called STAT3, known to be important in the proliferation and survival of cells. Previous studies suggest STAT3 also plays a role in the migration and invasion of tumor cells, and it has been observed in both primary tumors and human ovarian cancer cell lines. But STAT3 itself is not a promising candidate for targeted therapy, Connolly says, because, as a transcription factor, it lacks catalytic activity that could be blocked directly.

"At the beginning of our experiment we manipulated cells to see how STAT3 played a role in ovarian cancer," says Xiao.

Suspecting they could find a related molecule to inhibit the protein's actions in cancer cell lines, Xiao and Connolly conducted laboratory experiments to better understand the underlying biology. They began by trying to target STAT3 by inhibiting Src, a well-known non-receptor tyrosine kinase that plays a role in tumor cell migration and invasion. It also activates STAT3. The researchers found that when they blocked the activity of either STAT3 or Src, the migration of ovarian cancer cells diminished. When they blocked Src alone, they expected to see STAT3 activation drop off, too, but that's not what happened.

"Surprisingly, it increased STAT3 activity," says Xiao. That response suggested the STAT3 protein had some other way to become activated.

The researchers then studied proteins that interacted with STAT3 within focal adhesions, the molecular complexes where cells attached to the extra-cellular matrix. These experiments, which used drug interactions and a RNAi-mediated approach, demonstrated that STAT3's activation both at focal adhesions and in the nucleus depended on FAK.

"We showed that FAK inhibition resulted in dramatic reduction or inhibition of STAT3," which suggests targeting the enzyme could be a way to also inhibit the action of STAT3 in epithelial ovarian cancer.

"What's unique about Xiao's study is that focal adhesion kinase so far hasn't been shown to activate STAT3 in solid tumors," says Connolly, whose research focuses on understanding the biological underpinnings of epithelial ovarian cancer. "My laboratory in general is interested in any pathway that could contribute to ovarian cancer and progression, particularly pathways that could be exploited as therapeutic targets."

Evidence from lab experiments suggests the kinase is a potential target for therapy.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Potential target for epithelial ovarian cancer treatment identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407165220.htm>.
Fox Chase Cancer Center. (2014, April 7). Potential target for epithelial ovarian cancer treatment identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407165220.htm
Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Potential target for epithelial ovarian cancer treatment identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407165220.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

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