Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemical change may help predict seriousness and course of some cancer

06.10.2003


A pattern produced by a chemical change that turns off genes in tumor cells may help predict the seriousness of a particular cancer, and perhaps its outcome.



The study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute examined how a chemical change known as methylation spreads from one region of a breast-cancer gene to a neighboring region in tumor cells taken from patients.

The findings provide insight into how the methylation process progresses until it inactivates genes such as tumor suppressor genes that otherwise help protect against cancer. The findings are published in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.


“Methylation is as important as gene mutations and chromosomal damage in the cancer process,” says principal investigator Tim Hui-Ming Huang, associate professor of human cancer genetics.

“Our findings suggest that the degree of methylation may correlate with the seriousness of the tumor. If that proves to be true, it would have important implications for cancer diagnosis and predicting a patient’s prognosis.”

Methylation is the addition of small chemical units known as methyl groups to DNA. Cells normally use methylation to inactivate unneeded genes during embryonic development and throughout life. Abnormal methylation, however, occurs in many types of cancers.

The investigators developed microarray technology to measure methylation levels along two regions of a gene known as RASSF1A, which becomes highly methylated in many kinds of cancer. Microarray technology allows researchers to measure changes in genes from many different tumors simultaneously.

The researchers examined the methylation profiles of RASSF1A genes taken from 37 primary breast tumors, seven breast-cancer cell lines and 10 samples of normal breast tissue.

Specifically, they measured methylation levels at 19 sites spanning two adjoining regions of the gene: the promoter region, which regulates the activity of the gene, and the neighboring first exon. Exons are stretches of DNA that contain the information for the protein described by the gene.

Genes from the normal breast cells showed low to moderate methylation in the exon and little or no methylation in the promoter. Nearly one-third of breast tumors sampled also showed low levels of methylation in the promoter region.

The remaining tumor cells and all the breast-cancer cell lines, however, showed moderate to high levels of methylation in the exon and various degrees of methylation in the promoter.

High levels of promoter methylation correlate with an altered structure of the gene, resulting in a tightly closed DNA configuration that prevents gene activation.

“Our findings show that progressive methylation occurs in tumors from patients and support the idea that methylation begins in the exons and extends into the promoter,” Huang says.

Huang and his colleagues are now working to correlate methylation patterns in leukemia and ovarian and lung cancer with the behavior and severity of the disease. Grants from the National Cancer Institute supported this research.

Darrell E. Ward | Ohio State University
Further information:
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/methcanc.htm

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>