A protein associated with the growth of head and neck tumors may be a tumor suppressor that could prevent the spread of cancer when it is expressed above normal levels, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
The study, led by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology, Jennifer Grandis, M.D., is the first to show that the expression of a protein called STAT1 may play a vital role in preventing head and neck tumor growth. STAT1 belongs to a family of proteins called signal transducers and activators of transcription that have been linked to tumor progression in many cancers.
"While the activation of STAT1 has been associated with increased survival in breast cancer patients, its role in head and neck cancer has not been clearly understood," said Dr. Grandis. "Our study reveals that it is a critical survival pathway in head and neck cancer and that therapeutic strategies to restore its functioning may be of benefit to patients."
Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
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