Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find unusual lung-cancer tumor-suppressor gene

19.01.2006


Researchers have identified a new and unusual tumor suppressor gene that may be important in cancers of the lung and head and neck. The study shows that restoring the inactivated gene can slow the growth of tumor cells.



The gene, known as TCF21, is silenced in tumor cells through a chemical change known as DNA methylation, a process that is potentially reversible.

The findings might therefore lead to new strategies for the treatment and early detection of lung cancer, a disease that killed an estimated 163,510 Americans in 2005. The study could also lead to a better understanding of the molecular changes that occur in tumor cells during lung-cancer progression.


Tumor-suppressor genes are genes that normally prevent cells from growing out of control. The loss or silencing of one or more tumor-suppressor genes is believed to be an important part of cancer development.

The study, by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, was published online in the Jan. 13 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The newly discovered gene is unusual because it can alter normal epithelial cells, causing them to change to a more primitive state. Epithelial cells form the skin and line the body’s passageways and hollow organs. They are also the source of the most common forms of cancer.

The more primitive cell type, known as a mesenchymal cell, is more commonly found in embryos and is capable of migrating to other tissues. This suggests that the silencing of the TCF21 gene might help a tumor to spread to other areas of the body, a process known as metastasis.

The gene is also often silenced or lost in a variety of other cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer, melanoma and lymphoma.

“The fact that this gene is silenced in many cancer types strongly suggests that it plays an important role in cancer development,” says principal investigator Christoph Plass, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a researcher in the OSU Human Cancer Genetics Program.

In addition, says first author Laura T. Smith, a postdoctoral fellow in Plass’ laboratory, “because this gene is silenced by DNA methylation, it might be possible to reactivate it using drugs that reverse the methylation process. This could provide a new strategy for treating these cancers.”

The gene is found on chromosome 6 in a region known as 6q23-24, an area that contains hundreds of genes. Other researchers have searched this region looking for mutations that might lead them to a silenced tumor-suppressor gene, but, Plass says, “that strategy has been unsuccessful.”

DNA methylation, which is a chemical change and not a mutation, is another way that genes are silenced. For this study, Plass and his colleagues systematically scanned the same chromosome region using a technology known as restriction landmark genome scanning, which identifies methylated genes.

The researchers examined the region in about 50 tumor samples from patients with head and neck squamous-cell carcinomas and with non-small-cell lung cancer, which is responsible for about 85 percent of lung cancer cases. From this, they identified TCF21 as a gene often silenced by methylation compared with normal airway cells.

“A picture is emerging that certain genes tend to be silenced mainly by DNA methylation, while others tend to be silenced by genetic mutations,” Plass says. “This gene seems to be silenced by DNA methylation.”

Through a series of experiments, Plass and his colleagues showed that an active TCF21 gene can, in fact, be silenced by DNA methylation, and that drugs that reverse methylation can reactive it.

The researchers also used a lung-cancer cell line to show that if the active version of the TCF21 gene is placed in tumor cells, the active gene will slow the cells’ growth rate.

Lastly, the researchers showed that mice injected with lung-tumor cells that had an active TCF21 gene developed tumors that were two to three times smaller than tumors that developed from cancer cells with a silent TCF21 gene.

Plass and his colleagues are now studying the possible role of TCF21 in metastasis.

Funding from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research supported this research.

Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osumc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>