Navigation Links
A lethal brain tumor's strength may be a weakness as well
Date:8/14/2010

Malignant gliomas are the most common subtype of primary brain tumor and one of the deadliest. Even as doctors make steady progress treating other types of solid tumor cancers, from breast to prostate, the most aggressive form of malignant glioma, called a glioblastoma multiforme or GBM, has steadfastly defied advances in neurosurgery, radiation therapy and various conventional or novel drugs.

But an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, reports in the August 15 issue of Genes & Development that they have discovered a new signaling pathway between GBM cells one that, if ultimately blocked or disrupted, could significantly slow or reduce tumor growth and malignancy.

More than other types of cancer, GBMs are diverse assemblages of cell subtypes featuring great genetic variation. Anti-cancer therapies that target a specific mutation or cellular pathway tend to be less effective against such tumor heterogeneity.

"These myriad genetic alterations may be one of the primary reasons why GBMs are so lethal," said Frank Furnari, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine and an associate investigator at the San Diego branch of the LICR.

Even with maximum treatment effort, the median patient survival rate for a diagnosed GBM is nine to 12 months a statistic that has not changed substantially in decades.

However, Furnari, along with postdoctoral fellows Maria-del-Mar Inda and Rudy Bonavia, and Webster Cavenee, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the San Diego LICR branch, and others noted that in GBMs only a minority of tumor cells possess a mutant form of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. These cells drive the tumor's rapid, deadly growth. "Most GBM tumor cells express wild-type or normal EGFR," said Furnari. "Yet when expressed by itself, wild-type EGFR is a poor oncogene."

The scientists discovered that tumor cells with mutant EGFR secrete molecules that cause neighboring cells with wild-type EGFR to accelerate their tumorigenic growth. "The mutant cells are instructing other less malignant tumor cells to become more malignant," said Furnari.

This signaling pathway between GBM tumor cells was not known and presents a new and potentially promising chink in the armor of glioblastomas. "If we can inhibit or block this cellular communication, the tumor does not grow as quickly and may be more treatable," Furnari said. Researchers have already identified two molecules that appear to trigger EGFR activity on non-mutant tumor cells.

The findings may also provide clues in the bigger picture of how GBMs and other cancers survive and thrive. "There are other types of mutations and growth factor receptors in tumors," Furnari said. "We need to look at how they communicate. Historically, brain tumor research has focused upon the most abundantly expressed mutations, but this research suggests minority mutations play very important roles as well."

The researchers' next step will be to create a mouse model with mixed cell glioblastoma that can be used to test different therapeutics, inhibitors and blocking agents.


'/>"/>

Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Decline in Potentially Lethal Hospital-Based Infections
2. Potentially Lethal Airborne Fungus May Spread to California
3. Patients with Lethal Lung Disease Finally Receive Recognition by Social Security Administration
4. Deep Brain Stimulation Studied for Alzheimers
5. Menstrual Cramps May Alter Womens Brains
6. Menstrual cramps may alter brain structure
7. NIH award will enable design of brain tumor treatment that captures migrating cancer cells
8. Chemical system in brain behaves differently in cocaine addicts, UT Southwestern scientists find
9. Brain responds same to acute and chronic sleep loss
10. Brains wiring: More network than pyramid?
11. Better understanding of mapmaking in the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... May 26, 2016- In search of the K. Warriors, ... event of “K Warriors” on June 4, 2016 at Ashbury Hotel and Suites 600 ... sponsored and hosted by Shaolin Institute and sanctioned by KSF (Kungfu Sanda Federation), This ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... , ... May 28, 2016 , ... In a part of the city where’s it’s ... new farm-to-table Kelowna restaurants is hoping to attract diners with a taste for ... Suites officially opened the doors to Cornerstone Grill, an urban casual restaurant focusing on ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Southland Log Homes , designer ... timber frame barn kits, which can be found on its website at SouthlandLogHomes.com. , ... barn plans, and they highlight the craftsmanship of timber post and beam construction. ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... W.S. Badger Co. ... today that it has been recognized as one of the best small businesses for ... named as one of nine small businesses providing progressive benefits to new parents on ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... With over 60 percent ... the demand for a sustainable product to aid in the rehabilitation process has steadily ... the recovery of individuals with hemiplegia due to stroke. , Ekso Bionics has now ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... SPRINGS, Florida , May 25, 2016 ... Business Conference & Expo earlier this month, the numbers ... As revenues continue to climb into the billions, more ... the newly released 4th Edition State of Legal Marijuana ... Frontier, a cannabis-focused data-analysis firm, much of the increase ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 Digital Health ... to it by the US Patent and Trademark ... technology includes proprietary processes for electronic opt-­in and ... and wellness programs, HIPAA compliance and otherwise. ... "Our technology allows for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 ... the precision of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis ... the appointment of Professor Clive Morris ... leadership across the clinical development programme, scientific collaborations, ... help deliver significant improvements in clinical outcomes for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: