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Mount Sinai researchers discover possible new target for sarcoma treatment and prevention
Date:5/23/2011

In many instances, hyperactive Wnt signaling increases the expression of certain genes that cause the cell to proliferate faster than normal. This uncontrolled proliferation, often accompanied by additional changes in gene or genes independent of Wnt signaling, can transform a normal cell into a cancerous one.

Sarcomas comprise about one percent of all adult cancers, but about 15 percent of all childhood cancers. There are many sarcoma "subtypes" that can arise from a variety of connective tissue structures, including nerves, muscles, joints, bone, fat, and blood vessels. The most frequent location for sarcomas are the limbs, where the majority of the body's connective tissue is located. About 20 percent of sarcomas are curable by surgery, while 30 percent can be cured by surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation. About 12,000 new cases are diagnosed in the US each year and about 5,000 people die each year from sarcoma.

Sarcomas are subtyped based on where they occur in the body (in the bone, they are called osteosarcoma, in the smooth muscle they are leiomyosarcoma, in the cartilage they are chondrosarcoma, and so on). Studies suggest that even though sarcomas can occur in any part of the body, they commonly arise from the transformation of mesenchymal stem cells.


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