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Mayo Clinic researchers find genetic secrets to common kidney cancer
Date:5/18/2010

unction and inhibition of adipogenesis. Its loss is known to be critical to development of breast cancer. These four genes are known to control hundreds of other genes.
  • That ccRCC cells behave like stem cells undifferentiated cells that have the ability to become any type of cell in the body. ccRCC, but not normal kidney cells, has the capacity to undergo development of fat-producing cells or bone-making cells, depending on which laboratory culture medium they are placed in.
  • A gene expression signature for a biological process called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a characteristic feature of invasive cancer and cells undergoing proliferation. EMT may be important for kidney cancer development.
  • The stem cell-like properties found in ccRCC may explain why this cancer is so resistant to treatment, says Dr. Tun. But it also suggests that newer classes of drugs designed to target stem cells may offer a new alternative to treatment for this cancer, he says.

    Additionally, one of the study's biggest surprises is that immune genes are being expressed in ccRCC cells, which may be the reason why ccRCC is one of the few cancers that responds to immunotherapy, says Dr. Tun. One such gene, TLR2, can help control the chronic inflammation that is integral to the disease process. Down-regulating these immune genes may therefore be another good strategy.

    "Based on these findings, we propose a cancer model for the development of ccRCC," says Dr. Copland. "Developmentally, kidneys are mesenchymal in origin and develop by biological processes, which include mesenchymal epithelial transition (MET). In our model, normal renal epithelial cells experience loss of normal renal function (dedifferentiation) and EMT as well as preferential adipogenic differentiation.

    "We think that these processes turn normal kidney cells into cancer cells with stem cell-like qualities. Since our samples came from patients with early-stage c
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    Contact: Kevin Punsky
    punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
    904-953-0746
    Mayo Clinic
    Source:Eurekalert

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