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Study reveals how normal cells fuel tumor growth
Date:12/21/2011

Research summary:

  • The study shows how normal cells in tumors can enhance the growth of the tumor's cancer cells after losing an important tumor suppressor gene called Pten.

  • The findings suggest a new strategy for treating breast cancer by interrupting signals between normal cells and cancer cells in tumors.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study published in the journal Nature Cell Biology has discovered how normal cells in tumors can fuel tumor growth.

    Led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James), the study examines what happens when normal cells called fibroblasts in mouse mammary tumors lose an important tumor-suppressor gene called Pten (pronounced "P ten").

    The findings suggest new strategies for controlling tumor growth by developing drugs that disrupt the communication between tumor cells and the normal cells within the tumor. They also provide insight into the mechanisms that control the co-evolution of cancer cells and surrounding normal cells in tumors, and they demonstrate how the Pten gene normally suppresses cancer development, the researchers say.

    "Our study is the first to define a specific pathway in tumor fibroblasts that reprograms gene activity and the behavior of multiple cell types in the tumor microenvironment, including tumor cells themselves," says co-principal investigator Dr. Michael Ostrowski, professor and chair of molecular and cellular biochemistry.

    "Along with increasing basic knowledge about how tumors grow and spread, these findings have direct translational implications for the treatment of breast-cancer patients," says Ostrowski, who is a member of the OSUCCC James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics program.

    The researchers found that Pten regulates a molecule called microRNA-320 (miR-320), and that the loss of Pten leads to a dramatic drop in levels of
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  • Contact: Darrell E. Ward
    Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
    614-293-3737
    Ohio State University Medical Center
    Source:Eurekalert

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