Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs

Date:
June 27, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, new research suggests. Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

A mouse mammary gland missing the tumor suppressor p53 shows expression of ARF (green), now known for a backup role in protecting cells from becoming cancerous. If both p53 and ARF are mutated, the tumors that form are aggressive and may benefit from treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.
Credit: Raleigh Kladney

New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.

When both genes are lost and the antiviral pathway is activated, patients may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.

The investigators report their findings in a recent issue of the journal Cell Reports.

Until now, even though ARF was known to be expressed in some tumors with mutated p53, ARF largely was thought to be nonfunctional in this scenario. But the investigators showed that in the absence of p53, ARF actually protects against even more aggressive tumor formation.

"It's probably inaccurate to say that ARF completely replaces p53, which is a robust tumor suppressor with multiple ways of working," said senior author Jason D. Weber, PhD, associate professor of medicine. "But it appears the cell has set up a sort of backup system with ARF. It's not surprising that these are the two most highly mutated tumor suppressors in cancer. Because they're backing one another up, the most aggressive tumors form when you lose both."

Weber and his colleagues studied triple-negative breast cancer because these tumors often show mutations in both p53 and ARF. Triple-negative breast tumors are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation since targeted therapies commonly used against hormone-driven breast cancers are not effective.

In a finding Weber called surprising, the researchers showed that most triple-negative tumors lacking p53 and ARF turn on a pathway involved in the innate immune response to viral infection.

"It's not the level of activation you would see in a true antiviral response, but it's higher than normal," Weber said. "We are interested in studying whether this antiviral response is creating a local environment of inflammation that supports more aggressive tumors."

Weber and his colleagues knew that a signaling protein family known as JAK is upstream of the antiviral pathway they showed to be driving tumor growth.

"There are JAK inhibitors in use for rheumatoid arthritis and being tested against a number of other conditions," Weber said. "Our data suggest that these anti-inflammatory drugs may be a way to treat some patients missing both p53 and ARF."

The drugs potentially could benefit patients in whom both genes are lost, Weber added. If either p53 or ARF is present, this antiviral pathway is not active and therefore not playing a role in driving tumor growth.

Weber and his team are collaborating with specialists in lung, breast and pancreatic cancer to identify patients with mutations in both genes and to find out whether such patients might benefit from JAK inhibitors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Julia Evangelou Strait. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. JasonT. Forys, CatherineE. Kuzmicki, AnthonyJ. Saporita, CrystalL. Winkeler, LeonardB. Maggi, JasonD. Weber. ARF and p53 Coordinate Tumor Suppression of an Oncogenic IFN-β-STAT1-ISG15 Signaling Axis. Cell Reports, 2014; 7 (2): 514 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.03.026

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627145932.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, June 27). Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627145932.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627145932.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) 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