Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Testicular cancer gene in mice may offer clues to origins of cancer in men

19.05.2005


Researchers have located a gene dubbed dead end that when mutated or lost, causes testicular tumors in mice. They say their study, published in the online journal Nature, on May 18, 2005 will likely offer future insights into the genetic causes of the disease in humans because the cancer originates from the same cell type, the primordial germ cell, in both mice and men.



If that notion is validated through further research, the finding could lead to a way to either screen for the human disease or treat it, say the researchers, who represent The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Duke University Medical Center, the National Cancer Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

"One can envision that this gene or others in its pathway could possibly be used for screening or therapeutic purposes in young males predisposed to develop testicular cancer or those who have a family history of this disease," says the lead investigator, Angabin Matin, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at M. D. Anderson. "This will of course require further research regarding the function of this gene in human cancers."


Although the connection is more tenuous, the researchers add that their finding also could offer a clue as to the link between male infertility and testicular cancer, since loss of the dead end gene in a laboratory fish model of reproductive diseases leads to the inability to procreate. "And in humans, testicular cancer and infertility have been frequently associated with one another," Matin notes.

Still, the researchers say this study is most relevant to human testicular cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, testicular cancer usually strikes men between the ages of 15 and 39 and is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 20 and 34. Although it accounts for only about 1 percent of all male cancers, the rate of testicular cancer among white men has more than doubled in the past 40 years. It is also one of the most curable forms of cancer.

The study is the culmination of 30 years of research that has focused on a strain of male mice known as the "129 family" that spontaneously develops tumors in their testicles. Although researchers had suspected that a faulty or missing gene was to blame, researchers had a difficult time in pinpointing a single genetic change because germ cells were so altered that tumors developed just a week after the mice were born.

Matin, working as a post-doctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University with Joseph Nadeau, Ph.D., a co-author of this paper, decided to study tumor development in mouse embryos. In 2001, she mapped the location of ter, a mutation which was directly associated with development of the testicular tumors. At the same time, another group of researchers in Germany found a gene they called dead end. When missing, this gene was linked to sterility in zebrafish, a commonly used invertebrate model for human development and disease.

Knowing that genes involved in reproduction in many vertebrates have been found to be similar, Matin suspected that dead end might be the source of the ter mutation because they seemed to be located in corresponding regions of the genomes of mice and zebrafish. So she and a team of researchers set about to confirm that ter was indeed the mouse version of dead end.

In zebrafish, loss of dead end resulted in the loss of primordial germ cells, those stem cells that give rise to sperm in males. In the 129 family of mice, loss of dead end results not only in sterility, but also in the development of tumors, for reasons that the researchers do not yet understand. The tumors in mice usually do not metastasize, but that is probably because the mice do not live long enough for the cancer to mutate enough to spread, the researchers believe.

"We haven’t filled in the picture yet, but when dead end is lost or not expressed in germ cells, they don’t die as they do in zebrafish, but they frequently survive and become transformed in a way that produces germ cell tumors," Matin says.

Evidence exists in humans that these tumors also arise during fetal development, and this is most likely due to a similar genetic susceptibility, she says. "The tumors that we study in mice represent a model for testicular tumors observed in human infants," she says. "In this case, it may be that such early development of the cancer results when the infant has lost both copies of his dead end gene."

The researchers theorize that testicular cancer that develops in young adults may also originate from a genetic mutation during fetal development - perhaps by inheritance of a single dead end mutation - and tumor development occurs later due to environmental exposures or other genetic susceptibilities and losses.

"Extrapolating from the findings in Ter mice, although germ cell tumors present clinically in infants and young adults, it is apparent that genetic and environmental influences during embryogenesis increase the susceptibility of primordial germ cells to tumorigenesis," she says.

Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>