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2 proteins may be survival markers in some breast cancers
Date:11/13/2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio New research suggests that the presence or absence of two proteins may be important markers for long-term survival in some breast-cancer patients.

One of the proteins, called ErbB-4, is important for the growth and differentiation of several types of cells in the body. The second protein, called Wwox, is a tumor suppressor it helps prevent cells from becoming cancerous and it is missing in many breast cancers. Scientists dont yet understand how it works.

The research shows that the two proteins work together, and that their absence is associated with shorter survival in breast cancer. Furthermore, the study shows that Wwox keeps ErbB4 on the cell surface, and that this is associated with better survival.

The study was done by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in collaboration with researchers in Finland, and it was published in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Our findings suggest that the interaction of these two proteins is clinically important in breast cancer, says first author Rami I. Aqeilan, research assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio States Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The findings must be verified, but they suggest that we can use these proteins as clinical markers that predict better survival. Therapeutically, perhaps we can design drugs or inhibitors that interact with ErbB-4 to help control the growth of these tumors.

In 2005, a study led by the same Ohio State researchers found that the Wwox protein joins with ErbB-4 and keeps it near the cell surface. Otherwise, a fragment of ErbB4 can travel to the cell nucleus, where it activates genes involved in cancer development.

Coincidentally that same year, Finnish researchers showed that when ErbB-4 is located at the surface of breast-cancer cells, it means better survival, and when located in the cell nucleus, it indicates poor
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
darrell.ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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