A recent study published in CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH suggests that the protein hVps37A suppresses tumour growth in ovarian cancer. The work, which was funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, shows, for the first time, that this protein is significantly reduced in ovarian cancer cells.
The scientists also found that this reduction affects a cellular signalling pathway that is associated with the membrane receptor EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor). The receptor is considered an important biological marker for the course of the disease and therapy, and also serves as a target for modern treatment of different cancer types. In fact, the cells in which hVps37A synthesis was reduced showed resistance to Cetuximab, an approved substance for inhibition of EGFR activity.
The hVps37A gene as such is not unknown to scientists. In the period 2004 to 2007, a systematic genome search as part of a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF determined that, among others, this gene is down-regulated in ovarian cancer. The then head of studies, Prof. Michael Krainer, has now studied the function of this gene further in this particular type of cancer. The published results of this follow-up project show that hVps37A is a hitherto unknown tumour suppressor gene.
The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) "transmits" signals from the extracellular domain to within the cell. The binding of signal substances on the cell surface of the receptor causes a chemical modification (phosphorylation) of the receptor structure on the side of the cell lumen. This signal subsequently affects numerous cellular processes significantly, including cell proliferation, and may therefore contribute to the development of cancer.EFFECTIVE DEGRADATION
This theory would explain another result found by Prof. Krainer´s group, namely that cancer cells with reduced hVps37A activity become resistant to Cetuximab, but not to Lapatinib. Cetuximab inhibits EGFR-mediated signal transduction; however, the Cetuximab-EGFR complex must then be degraded in order for the therapy to remain effective. In the case of Lapatinib, which directly inhibits EGFR phosphorylation, this is not necessary.
On the whole, the results from this FWF project offer the first fundamental description of a previously unknown tumour suppressor gene in ovarian cancer cells. Its effect on the EGF receptor also makes the tumour suppressor gene relevant for other types of cancer.
Original Publication: hVps37A Status Affects Prognosis and Cetuximab Sensitivity in Ovarian Cancer. M. Wittinger, P. Vanhara, A. El-Gazzar, B. Savarese-Brenner, D. Pils, M. Anees, T. W. Grunt, M. Sibilia, M. Holcmann, R. Horvat, M. Schemper, R. Zeillinger, C. Schöfer, H. Dolznig, P. Horak and M. Krainer. Clinical Cancer Research 2011;17:7816-7827 DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0408Picture and text available from Monday, 13 February 2012, 9 am CET at:
Margot Pechtigam | PR&D
Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology
Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences