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Loss of MicroRNA decoy might contribute to development of soft-tissue sarcoma
Date:8/7/2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers have discovered a novel mechanism responsible for the loss of a critical tumor-suppressor gene in rhabdomyosarcoma and other soft-tissue sarcomas, rare cancers that strike mainly children and often respond poorly to treatment. Their cause is largely unknown.

Knowledge of the mechanism could guide the development of more effective therapies for these malignancies, say researchers who led the study at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James).

The researchers found that the tumor-suppressor gene called A20 is silenced not by mutation, as in many other cancers, but because a second molecule is lost, a small molecule called microRNA-29 (miR-29). In addition, they found that miR-29 normally protects A20 from destruction. When miR-29 is absent, A20 is degraded. Loss of A20, in turn, leads to a dramatic rise in levels of a protein called NF-kB and to tumor progression.

The findings are published in the journal Science Signaling.

"We do know that NF-kB is a tumor promoter, but we don't know why it is upregulated in many cancers," says principal investigator Denis Guttridge, PhD, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a member of the OSUCCC James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program.

"Our study indicates that it involves a regulatory circuit between NF-kB, miR-29 and the A20 tumor-suppressor gene," Guttridge says. "It also identifies NF-kB as a therapeutic target in sarcoma and A20 and miR-29 as potential biomarkers for sarcoma."

"We are excited about these findings because they open up new vistas on the role of microRNAs in sarcoma development and provide a rationale for further interrogating this circuitry as a potential target for new treatments," says study pathologist and coauthor O. Hans Iwenofu, MD, FCAP, assistant professor of pathology and member of the OSUCCC
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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