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Scaffolding protein promotes growth and metastases of epithelial ovarian cancer
Date:4/6/2014

SAN DIEGO, CA (April 6, 2014)Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center have shown that NEDD9, a scaffolding protein responsible for regulating signaling pathways in the cell, promotes the growth and spread of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Previous studies have demonstrated the protein's importance in tumor invasion and spread of some lymphomas and many solid tumor types, including melanoma, neuroblastoma, and breast cancer, but its role in gynecological cancers has been poorly understood. The new data, to be presented on Sunday, April 6 at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, suggest the protein activates known oncogenic signaling pathways in cancer cells, encouraging metastases.

"NEDD9 expression is usually associated with metastasis," says lead author Rashid Gabbasov, a graduate student in Fox Chase's Developmental Therapeutics Research Program and a researcher in the laboratory of Fox Chase Associate Professor Denise C. Connolly, PhD. "We've shown in two mouse models that expression of the protein probably plays an important role both in the initial development of ovarian cancer and tumor dissemination."

Because it lacks catalytic activity that might be inhibited, NEDD9 (neural precursor cell expressed, developmentally downregulated 9) itself is unlikely to be a suitable candidate for targeted therapy, says Gabbasov, and because it's not present in the blood it may not be suitable for diagnosing ovarian cancer. However, because the protein serves as a scaffolding molecule for other signaling proteins that play significant roles in cancer development and is important in several molecular pathways, it can inform future investigations of the biology of ovarian cancer in human cancer specimens. Researchers can investigate pathways downstream of the protein that are active in ovarian cancer to identify those which may be used as potential diagnostic or therapeutic biomarkers.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than 22,000 w
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-815-7828
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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