Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

USC researchers find evidence that progesterone signaling influences ovarian cancer risk

05.01.2005


A woman’s risk of ovarian cancer rises significantly if she carries either of two previously unexamined variations in the gene that codes for the progesterone receptor, according to a team of researchers led by scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.



The study, which is being published in the January 5th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was initially supposed to be a more in-depth look at one particular version-or allele-of the progesterone receptor gene (PGR). The PROGINS allele, says Celeste Leigh Pearce, a preventive medicine researcher from the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the paper’s first author, had previously been linked to a higher ovarian cancer risk as well as a lower breast cancer risk in women who carry it.

To see if the PROGINS allele did indeed confer a higher ovarian cancer risk on women, the researchers-led by the study’s principal investigator, USC preventive medicine professor Malcolm Pike-first used biological samples collected by the Hawaii/Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort Study. (The Multiethnic Cohort is one of the largest ongoing population studies in the world, and is led by Brian E. Henderson, M.D., the Kenneth T. Norris Jr. Chair in Cancer Prevention and dean of the Keck School of Medicine.) The scientists examined the variety of genetic variations found in the PGR gene as part of a long-term collaboration between USC researchers and those at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, looking to ascertain if the PROGINS allele held a particular risk of ovarian cancer for women.


The results, Pearce notes, showed that it likely does. But at the same time, they noticed something even more interesting. The data they collected showed that the biggest influence on ovarian cancer risk from that region of the gene came not from the single PROGINS allele, but rather from two haplotypes found in the same region, one of which actually contains the PROGINS allele. (A haplotype is a set of alleles on a chromosome that are closely linked together, and which are usually passed down as a single unit.)

In fact, the two haplotypes-dubbed simply 4-D and 4-E-were found to raise ovarian cancer risk by almost 3.5-fold in women who carry two copies of either haplotype, or one of each. Not only were these two particular haplotypes found to be part of the story, but they were found to overshadow the role of the PROGINS allele.

How can subtle changes in a progesterone receptor gene lead to an elevated risk of this uncommon, yet exceedingly deadly, form of cancer in women remains to be fully spelled out.

What scientists do know, however, is that progesterone appears to protect women from the disease, while increasing their risk of breast cancer. And so it seems likely that subtle changes in the progesterone receptor, which is the first step in the signaling pathway by which the progesterone hormone does its job, might decrease the receptor’s efficiency, muting progesterone’s signal and reducing its influence on the body’s cells. And that, in turn, might very well lead to ovarian cancer.

Of course, proving that theory will take time and further studies, notes Pearce. But, by that same token, it would likely provide invaluable information, and possibly new therapeutic options as well.

"If our findings with respect to ovarian cancer are replicated in other studies, this would provide important evidence that direct modulation of progesterone signaling influences cancer risk," the researchers note. "Understanding how this variation influences risk of ovarian cancer should give further insight into ways this difficult-to-diagnose disease could be prevented in the future."

Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

nachricht A new approach to high insulin levels
18.09.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>