Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Protein holds back growth of head and neck tumors


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."

Dr. Grandis, who also is director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), and colleagues compared the expression of STAT1 in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) tumors to its expression in normal tissue samples. They found that STAT1 was expressed in lower levels in the tumor cells than in the normal cells. And, when they chemically altered the expression of STAT1 to increase its levels, the cancer cells diminished and died.

To alter the expression of STAT1, the researchers treated cells with an agent that removes methyl groups and modifies gene expression. Some of the SCCHN cells were then treated with chemotherapy alone and others in combination with azacytidine, an agent that reversed the process and increased STAT1 production. Those cells treated with chemotherapy and azacytidine were more responsive to the treatment and more likely to stop growing and eventually die.

"When STAT1 signaling was silenced, the tumor cells grew indicating to us that its loss promotes cancer growth," said Dr. Grandis. "On the other hand, when the signaling was increased and combined with chemotherapy, cancer cells were more likely to die."

More than two-thirds of head and neck cancer patients have a locally advanced stage when diagnosed. The disease has a poor five-year survival rate even after treatment. Current treatment options are limited and often cause disabling side effects.

Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Enormous dome in central Andes driven by huge magma body beneath it

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Deep down fracking wells, microbial communities thrive

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>