Scientists from Maryland and New Jersey have identified a molecular pathway in mice that makes prostate cells vulnerable to cancer-causing oxygen damage. The pathway, which is also involved in human prostate cancer, may help determine how and whether antioxidants, such as certain vitamins or their products that reverse the damage, can prevent prostate cancer.
The researchers, from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, found that when the tumor suppressor gene Nkx3.1 malfunctions, prostate cells lose the ability to protect themselves from oxygen damage. Results of the new studies are in the August issue of the journal Cancer Research.
"Normally, cells with functioning Nkx3.1 seem to process oxidative free radicals appropriately," says Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D., a co-author of the study and director of the Department of Radiation Oncology & Molecular Radiation Sciences at Hopkins. "But cells with faulty Nkx3.1 genes cannot manage oxidative injury. Then, their DNA gets damaged, and that leads to other mutations that in turn can bring about cancer."
Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
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