The lack of a special protein crucial to cell growth and development may help cancer cells proliferate, new research suggests.
Cells without this protein – E2F3 – are usually rendered genetically unstable. In most cases, such instability would either kill a cell or keep it from growing. Yet sometimes mutations alter cells in such a way that they are able to thrive and multiply, creating tumors.
“In cancer, the absence or loss of E2F3 may be a double-edged sword,” said Gustavo Leone, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in the Human Cancer Genetics Program at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. “In most cases, the absence of E2F3 slows cell division. But the genetic instability created by the missing protein could instead increase the potential that a mutated cell would divide, and the resulting mutated cells could spread throughout the body.
Holly Wagner | EurekAlert!
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