Other than visually inspecting the disease, doctors have no genetic blueprint to classify melanomas, a lethal form of skin cancer. Tumors generally are ranked by how deeply the growth has invaded underlying skin tissue. The deeper it burrows into the skin, the more lethal the cancer, but some patients defy the odds and survive with thick tumors or die from thin ones.
“Two melanoma patients with cancers of the same invasion depth and appearance under the microscope can have completely different outcomes,” says Rhoda Alani, M.D., associate professor of oncology, dermatology and molecular biology and genetics at Hopkins’ Kimmel Cancer Center.
Alani says the way genes turn their protein-manufacturing machinery on and off in each cancer may help create a signature that can be used to identify tumors that are more prone to kill. These so-called expression patterns can be different from one stage of cancer to the next.
Her research team charted the level of gene expression in melanoma cell lines. Three of the lines mimic the least aggressive type, which grows along the uppermost surface of the skin, called radial growth phase. Four of the cell lines are typical of so-called “vertical growth phase” cancers, which invade inner skin layers, and another three represent the most lethal form -metastatic melanomas.
Two vertical growth phase cell lines had gene expression patterns similar to radial growth cancers, indicating that these cells were less aggressive, according to the scientists. The remaining two vertical growth cell lines contained patterns in 18 genes that paralleled metastatic cancer cell lines, the most aggressive form. Alani and her colleagues believe that within this group of 18 genes is a signature for aggressive melanomas.
Many of the genes described in the Hopkins report, published online on July 4 in PLoS One, were previously identified as associated with aggressive cancers by scientists at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere, but Alani says her study brings them all together for melanoma and links them to an aggressive profile.
Alani’s team is validating these results in human tissue samples and evaluating gene correlations with patient outcomes. Funding for the study was provided by the National Cancer Institute. With further study, the genes could be used in tests that predict a patient’s prognosis and as targets for tailored therapies, she says.
Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy