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Researchers identify gene linked to aggressive progression of liver cancer
Date:2/17/2009

As are small inhibitory RNAs that can specifically inhibit targeted mRNA and protein production. siRNAs may be used in the future for targeted inhibition of AEG-1 in patients, Sarkar said.

According to Sarkar, the team found a significantly higher expression of AEG-1 protein in more than 90 percent of tumor samples from HCC patients compared to normal human liver cells.

"The expression of AEG-1 protein gradually increases as the disease becomes more aggressive. No other genes have been shown to be upregulated in such a high percentage of HCC patients," said Sarkar.

Further, he said that findings from a separate pool of 132 HCC patients revealed significant overexpression of AEG-1 mRNA compared to normal liver. In a subset of these patients, the team detected an increased number of copies of the AEG-1 gene.

"We observed an increase in AEG-1 DNA, mRNA and protein in HCC patients, which indicates a significant involvement of AEG-1 in HCC progression. Stable overexpression of AEG-1 converts non-tumorigenic human HCC cells into highly aggressive vascular tumors and inhibition of AEG-1 abrogates tumorigenesis by aggressive HCC cells," he said.

Previous studies suggest that the expression of AEG-1 is very low in normal cells or tissues such as breast, prostate and brain. However, in cancers of the same organs, expression of AEG-1 is significantly increased.

The team will conduct studies to further understand the molecular mechanisms by which AEG-1 works and identify other proteins with which it interacts.


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Contact: Sathya Achia Abraham
sbachia@vcu.edu
804-827-0890
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert

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