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New metastasis-suppressor gene identified by cancer researchers

Date:
July 11, 2014
Source:
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Summary:
A new suppressor of cancer metastasis, FOXO4, has been identified by cancer researchers. Among patients with deadly cancers, more than 90 percent die because of metastatic spread of their disease. The new findings may point the way toward development of more effective treatments for prostate cancers and other malignant solid tumors.

Among patients with deadly cancers, more than 90 percent die because of metastatic spread of their disease. Looking to target a key pathway in order to interfere with the processes that lead to tumor spread, a research team led by Irwin H. Gelman, Ph.D., of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has identified a new suppressor of cancer metastasis that may point the way toward development of more effective treatments for prostate cancers and other malignant solid tumors.

Activation of the PI3K/AKT signal pathway is a known driver of the progression of prostate cancer to the castrate-resistant stage, the most lethal form of prostate cancer. Using a genome-wide genetic screen, Dr. Gelman and colleagues identified a previously unknown metastasis suppressor -- the FOXO4 protein, which belongs to a family of genes that are produced by all human cells.

"Evidence from several publicly available cancer genomic databanks indicates that FOXO4 is typically turned off in metastatic prostate cancer compared to primary prostate tumors. Our research showed that the FOXO4 gene normally turns off genes that control specific metastatic behavior in malignant tumor cells, such as the ability to invade tissues and then to survive and multiply there," says Dr. Gelman, the John & Santa Palisano Chair in Cancer Genetics at RPCI.

In demonstrating that FOXO4 works to prevent the spread of cancerous tumors by binding to and inhibiting the protein RUNX2, the team identified a circuit that controls metastatic progression in prostate cancer.

"Our findings underline the importance of RUNX2 in promoting metastasis and suggest that drugs that inhibit its function would prevent or treat prostate cancer metastasis," notes Dr. Gelman. "Given the devastating impact of cancer metastasis and the dire need for therapies to combat tumor spread, we're highly encouraged by these findings and excited about the therapeutic possibilities they open up."

Dr. Gelman's lab is now working with collaborators at the University of Maryland to test the effectiveness of the experimental agent CADD522, an inhibitor of RUNX2 function, in preventing or impeding prostate cancer metastasis.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bing Su, Lingqiu Gao, Catherine Baranowski, Bryan Gillard, Jianmin Wang, Ryan Ransom, Hyun-Kyung Ko, Irwin H. Gelman. A Genome-Wide RNAi Screen Identifies FOXO4 as a Metastasis-Suppressor through Counteracting PI3K/AKT Signal Pathway in Prostate Cancer. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e101411 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101411

Cite This Page:

Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "New metastasis-suppressor gene identified by cancer researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711132609.htm>.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute. (2014, July 11). New metastasis-suppressor gene identified by cancer researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711132609.htm
Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "New metastasis-suppressor gene identified by cancer researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711132609.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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