Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein found to protect breast cancer tumors from chemotherapy

24.08.2006
Finding may help women get more effective treatment

About half of women whose breast cancer is treated with standard chemotherapy have their cancer return within five years. Most chemotherapeutic drugs have undesirable side effects, but there has been no way to predict who would benefit and who wouldn't. Fortunately, new research findings at the University of Southern California could change that.

Researchers at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a new biological marker in tumors that can help indicate whether a woman's breast cancer will respond to the most commonly prescribed chemotherapy drugs.

Amy S. Lee, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, isolated the gene for the GRP78 protein (78-kDA glucose-regulated protein) in 1980. It normally helps protect cells from dying, particularly when they are under stress from a lack of glucose. In her current research, Lee finds that breast cancer tumors with high levels of GRP78 are protected from a common chemotherapy regimen based on Adriamycin, a topoisomerase inhibitor. Her findings are published as a "Priority Report" in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"The importance of this study is in its potential to help clinicians who treat cancer," Lee says. "It will help sort out the patients who won't respond to particular treatment regimens and will have a higher chance of cancer recurrence."

Lee and her colleagues analyzed records of 432 women with Stage II or III breast cancer treated at the USC/Norris Cancer Hospital, of whom 209 received Adriamycin-based chemotherapy. Tumor samples were collected from 127 of the women before they received chemotherapy. The samples were analyzed using antibodies to detect and stain GRP78 protein. Review of the samples under a microscope showed that two-thirds (67 percent) of the tumors tested had high levels of GRP78.

Subsequent analysis of the patients' records showed that women whose tumors had higher levels of GRP78 were more likely to have had the cancer recur. That was particularly likely if the women received Adriamycin-based chemotherapy and no further treatment with the chemotherapy drug taxane, regardless of their tumor stage. Likewise, women who had mastectomies followed by Adriamycin-based therapy were more likely to have the cancer return if their tumors had elevated levels of GRP78, compared to identically treated patients with low level of GRP78.

Conversely, the study also suggests that women who received Adriamycin-based therapy followed by additional treatment with taxane had a lower risk of cancer recurrence if their tumors had elevated levels of GRP78.

Lee hopes others will confirm her findings in subsequent research, and that it will eventually lead to a standard laboratory test that can screen all women diagnosed with breast cancer. "GRP78 will be one more bio-marker to help us offer designer medicine – treatments that are tailored to the patient's cancer instead of one-size-fits-all," Lee says.

The study is anticipated to have broad implications since other types of cancers have also been found to have elevated levels of GRP78. To that end, Lee is also collaborating with USC/Norris pathologist Richard Cote, M.D., on a study of the protein's role in prostate cancer.

Lee says the access to specialists from various disciplines was essential. "This research could not have happened without the collaborative environment at the USC/ Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center," she says. Lee's interdisciplinary research team included clinical oncologist Darcy Spicer, M.D., pathologist Peter Nichols, M.D., epidemiologist Mimi C. Yu, Ph.D., biostatistician Susan Groshen, Ph.D., and epidemiology Ph.D. student Eunjung Lee.

Kathleen O'Neil | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>