Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key mechanism found that promotes spread of malignant melanoma

02.11.2005


Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a key signaling mechanism that may promote the ability of highly aggressive malignant melanoma cells to metastasize, or spread from a primary tumor to distant sites within the body.



Results of their study, published in the November issue of Cancer Research, suggest that the signaling mechanism may be a potential target for prevention of metastatic melanoma.

The study was led by Angela R. Hess, a research scientist at the Children’s Memorial Research Center, and was conducted in the laboratory of Mary Hendrix, president and scientific director of the Children’s Memorial Research Center and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


Metastatic cancer cells are characterized by increased tumor cell invasion and migration, as well as tumor cell plasticity, manifested as vasculogenic mimicry – the ability of aggressive melanoma cells to masquerade as endothelial-like cells by forming their own vascular networks. Hess and co-investigators found that an enzyme known as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which is important for many cellular processes, including cell survival, invasion and migration, is activated in malignant uveal (eye) and skin melanoma.

They hypothesized that FAK could play a major role in promoting aggressive melanoma because its increased production has been linked to tumor cell aggressiveness in other cancers, including prostate, thyroid, colorectal, ovarian and oral tumors.

Hess and colleagues found that elevated activity of FAK in aggressive melanoma cells correlated with the cells’ increased invasion, migration and vasculogenic mimicry behaviors.

As proof of principle, the researchers then blocked FAK signaling in aggressive melanoma cells, which resulted in a decrease in melanoma cell invasion, migration and vasculogenic mimicry.

"Collectively, our data suggest a new mechanism involved in promoting aggressive melanoma though FAK-mediated signal transduction pathways, thus providing new insights into possible therapeutic intervention strategies," Hess said. "Understanding the molecular mechanisms that promote aggressive melanoma is essential to predicting the likelihood of metastasis at a stage when intervention is possible," Hess said.

The Hendrix laboratory has identified several signal transduction components that seem to play significant roles in mediating the aggressive properties of melanoma cells.

"Although we are beginning to understand the involvement of some of the signaling pathways that regulate cell invasion, migration and vasculogenic mimicry, the complexity of the coordinated molecular interactions underlying these processes remains to be elucidated," Hendrix said.

Malignant melanoma is curable when detected early. However, left untreated and allowed to metastasize, malignant melanoma often is fatal. In the United States, the incidence of melanoma has tripled in the past 50 years and has almost doubled in the last decade. It is estimated that approximately 48,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, with an expected 7,700 deaths, according to data from the American Cancer Society.

Elizabeth Crown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>