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A potent suppressor of endometrial cancer is revealed
Date:2/8/2010

he genetic change induced a very rapidly progressing cancer in all mice that carried the mutation. The gene they deleted, called Lkb1, is mutated in many other types of human cancers, and it regulates pathways that are known to contribute to the formation of aggressive cancer cells.

Very few genetic changes act alone to induce cancer. Most cancer cells result from multiple mutations. However, all mice deficient for just Lkb1, exhibited cancerous changes throughout their entire endometrium. "In most mouse cancer models, one creates a tumor prone condition. But additional mutations are usually required for a cell to develop a cancer" says Dr. Castrillon, "What is surprising about the Lkb1 model, is that their entire endometrium becomes malignant. It happens very early and rapidly."

The rapid development of cancer in mice without Lkb1 suggests that this gene or the molecules that its product regulates may be valuable targets for future therapy. The authors show that treating the mice with a drug that blocks a downstream target of the Lkb1 product kills tumor cells, leading to tumor shrinkage and dramatic recovery of the mice. "It is likely that this pathway is very important. We believe that Lkb1 mutations or mutations in other steps in this pathway represent some type of metabolic abnormality that we could take advantage of [for therapeutic intervention]" says Dr. Castrillon.


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Contact: Kristy Kain
kristy.kain@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-1298
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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