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Discovery of widespread tumor growth gene holds promise for effective anti-cancer treatment
Date:9/24/2007

for cell immortalisation, is observed in 80% of all tumours. Telomerase is an enzyme that adds specific DNA repeats to the ends of chromosomes, so not strictly comparable. When we come to look at genes, her2/neu is a key determinant of breast cancer aggressiveness and is over-expressed in 25% of the cancers, and amplified in only a subgroup of them; and p53, possibly the most fundamental of tumour suppressors, is mutated and/or over-expressed in 50% of tumours. Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) are relatively infrequent in most cancers, reach 30% of the non small-cell lung cancers and are present at frequencies of around 75% in only a small subgroup of the latter. Most other markers known to date show lower figures and/or can be detected at high frequency in only a subgroup of tumours, for example PSA in prostate cancer. So Trop-2 really stands out.

It is also a unique marker of cancer metastases in different tumour types including colon, stomach, breast, and ovary in man and across a number of species, he says. In man, most metastases in lymph nodes or down-stream organs, for example liver in colon cancer, express higher levels of Trop-2 compared with the primary tumours. Trop-2 induces these metastases through mechanisms that the scientists are beginning to unravel. The most intriguing of these findings, they say, is the presence of two sequence elements in the Trop-2 cytoplasmic tail, the signalling engine of Trop-2, which act as, respectively, an enhancer and a silencer of metastatic propensity. This may be the key to the identification of signalling molecules that promote or inhibit the formation of metastases.

If we can identify such molecules we will be approaching a situation where we could influence their activity and hence either encourage or prevent it, says Professor Alberti. This could be an important step towards stopping cancer in its tracks.

In addition, the scientists want to extend their kno
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
44-078-030-48897
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference
Source:Eurekalert

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