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Scientists unravel role of fusion gene in prostate cancer
Date:5/22/2012

reased or shut down, and which were involved in chromatin interactions, were those that are involved in cell invasion, a key feature of aggressive prostate cancer. "We thus think that ERG may contribute to prostate cancer phenotype by rearranging chromatin interactions to promote the expression of these key malignancy genes," Dr. Elemento says.

ERG also seems to push the formation of new chromosomal translocations, he says. "This is exciting because it points to a completely novel, non-transcriptional role for ERG in cancer," Dr. Elemento says. "We think that it is possible that many genes like ERG -- which bind to the DNA -- could promote the formation of novel genetic alterations by rearranging chromatin interactions."

Dr. Rickman agrees, "These findings extend beyond the context of the prostate as many driving genetic lesions in other cancer types involve abnormal expression of transcription factors due to genomic alterations."

The researchers are now conducting studies to unravel the mechanism that accounts for these architectural changes. "Achieving this will provide a new understanding of cancer and novel ways to treat and prevent its progression," Dr. Rickman says.


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Contact: Lauren Woods
law2014@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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