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Amplification of a Stat5 gene produces excess oncogenic protein that drives prostate cancer spread
Date:5/7/2013

her colleagues, has authored a number of crucial studies demonstrating the impact the gene and its protein can have on prostate cancer progression. "Stat5 isn't the only protein that drives prostate cancer, but it is a very important one," she says.

Stat5 is a transcription factor a protein that can regulate expression of other genes. In 2003, Dr. Nevalainen discovered that Stat5 protein is critical for viability of prostate cancer cells and growth of prostate tumors in mice. In 2004, Dr. Nevalainen found that Stat5 inside a cell's nucleus is often over-expressed in high-grade human prostate cancer, and in 2005, she demonstrated that Stat5 activity was associated with recurrence of prostate cancer in patients who had already been treated. Then, in 2008 she showed that nuclear Stat5 was especially prevalent in recurrent prostate cancers that are resistant to hormone therapy. Most importantly, her research has demonstrated that blocking Stat5 in laboratory and in animal models effectively destroyed prostate cancer. "We know that Stat5 is absolutely critical to the survival of prostate cancer cells," she says.

In 2010, Dr. Nevalainen found that excess Stat5 in prostate cancer cells is linked to metastasis, and excess Stat5 expression predicts early disease recurrence and death from prostate cancer. This study was conducted to investigate why such over-expression of the protein occurs.

The researchers found amplification of the Stat5 gene in a significant fraction of 128 prostate cancer specimens from patients, and that Stat5 gene amplification was more frequently found in metastatic cancers that are no longer responsible to castration treatment (29 percent) and in high histological grade cancers (40 percent). Experiments in cell culture and in mice showed that increased Stat5 copy numbers conferred a growth advantage for tumors.

"Lots of cancers have chromosomal rearrangements that lead to amplification of pro-growth genes," says Dr
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Contact: Jackie Kozloski
jackie.kozloski@jefferson.edu
215-955-5296
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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