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Mayo Clinic researchers find gene they believe is key to kidney cancer
Date:5/20/2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Researchers at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida have discovered a key gene that, when turned off, promotes the development of common kidney cancer. Their findings suggest that a combination of agents now being tested in other cancers may turn the gene back on, providing a much-needed therapy for the difficult-to-treat cancer.

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common kind of kidney cancer, accounts for just 3 percent of all cancers in the United States, but is the sixth leading cause of cancer death. No current treatment has had a measurable effect on the spread of the cancer, oncologists say.

In the May 20, 2010 issue of Oncogene, researchers describe a gene called GATA3 that has been silenced in ccRCC and is a key gene also lost in breast cancer. GATA3 controls many genes and proteins that regulate cell growth, and one of them, a receptor known as the type III transforming growth factor- receptor (TRIII), is absent in a number of cancers.

According to the study's senior investigator, John Copland, Ph.D., a cancer biologist at the Mayo Clinic campus at Florida, these findings will surprise many in the cancer field. "Cancer researchers know that GATA3 is essential for immune T cell development and function," he says. "As well, very recent studies show that GATA3 is also critical to breast cancer development, where GATA3 expression is limited to mammary luminal epithelial cells. GATA3 is lost during breast cancer progression and its loss is a strong predictor of poor clinical outcome in luminal breast cancer. GATA3 also plays an important role in renal development and differentiation during embryogenesis, but little is known about the role of GATA3 in the adult human kidney."

"Now it looks like GATA
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-0746
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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