Study Says Thyroid Cancer Gene Actually Slows Down Cell Growth

by Kathy Jones on  June 6, 2011 at 7:15 PM Cancer News   - G J E 4
A mutant gene long thought to accelerate tumor growth in thyroid cancer patients actually inhibits the spread of malignant cells, a Mayo Clinic study, led by an Indian-origin researcher, has found.
 Study Says Thyroid Cancer Gene Actually Slows Down Cell Growth
Study Says Thyroid Cancer Gene Actually Slows Down Cell Growth

"It's not an oncogene like everyone thought it was," said researcher Honey Reddi, referring to a gene with the potential to cause cancer.

Reddi's research found that the PAX8/PPAR? fusion protein, developed from a mutated fusion gene found in many follicular thyroid carcinomas, functions as a tumor suppressor by upregulating (encourages natural production of) microRNA-122 and PTEN, both naturally occurring anti-tumor agents.

PAX8/PPAR? results from the translocation of genetic material between human chromosomes 2 and 3.

Previous in vitro studies of the PAX8/PPAR? protein found rapid acceleration of cell growth, which led researchers to the false interpretation that PAX8/PPAR? functioned as an oncogene, a type of mutated gene that encourages tumor propagation, said Reddi .

But Mayo Clinic's in vivo animal studies showed that PAX8/PPAR? upregulates the well-known anti-cancer protein PTEN, as well as microRNA-122, and likely facilitates other cancer-fighting molecules.

PAX8/PPAR? does not boost tumor progression when exposed to cancerous cells. Rather, its facilitation of other native anti-cancer molecules appears to outweigh the tumor propagation, said Reddi.

In their study, tumors grew about four times slower in mice exposed to the PAX8/PPAR? gene than those who were deprived of the protein's cancer-fighting qualities.

The findings will be presented at the Endocrine Society meeting in Boston.

Source: ANI

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