The finding suggests that eventually it might be possible to screen women with endometrial cancer to see if they have that mutation and use the drug as targeted therapy, the researchers said.
"Our data suggest that deficiency of this gene can indicate both how aggressive an endometrial tumor will be and how well it might respond to a specific class of drugs," said Dr. Diego Castrillon, assistant professor of pathology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the paper, which appears in the March/April issue of Disease Models and Mechanisms.
"Some early clinical trials have shown that about one-fifth of women with endometrial cancers respond to a group of drugs called 'rapalogs,'" Dr. Castrillon said. "Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to predict which women these are."
Endometrial cancer affects the lining of the uterus. This cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract and is usually detected when a woman complains of excessive bleeding. About one-third of ovarian cancer cases are believed to begin as endometrial cancer, Dr. Castrillon said. The median survival of women with advanced endometrial cancer is one year.
The researchers focused the gene Lkb1, which is known to suppress other types of cancers. Mutations in Lkb1 disrupt its "braking" action on cancer and contribute to the disease in lungs, skin and other tissues.
In the current study, the researchers genetically engineered mice to inactive Lkb1 only in the endometrium. Without Lkb1, the entire endometrium became cancerous early and rapidly, they found.
The researchers found that treating the cancerous mice with the anti-cancer drug rapamycin slowed the progression of the cancers and dramatically shrank existing tumors.
"We hope that someday a test based on this gene or others like it might pinpoint which women would respond best to treatment with 'rapalogs,'" Dr. Castrillon said. "Such personalized medicine could spare other women from unnecessary chemotherapy if their tumors are unresponsive to the drugs."
Other UT Southwestern researchers participating in the study were graduate students Cristina Contreras and Esra Akbay; senior research scientist Teresa Gallardo; research assistant Marshall Haynie; Dr. Masaya Takahashi, associate professor in UT Southwestern's Advanced Imaging Research Center; and Dr. Osamu Togao, postdoctoral research fellow in the Advanced Imaging Research Center.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School also participated in the study.
The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, a Translational Science Award from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society, and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.
Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering