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!
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering