Genetic signature may lead to better treatments for pediatric liver cancers
Age alone should not determine whether an older patient with acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome receives a blood stem cell transplant from a matched donor, researchers of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research reported today at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. Patients older than 65 do
Full Post: Age has no impact on survival after bone marrow transplant
Scientists have identified a genetic signature that is remarkably effective at predicting the prognosis of an aggressive liver cancer in children.
The research, published by Cell Press in the December issue of the journal Cancer Cell, may lead to better treatments for pediatric liver cancers.
Hepatoblastoma (HB), the most common liver cancer in children, is associated with abnormal activation of the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway. Although the specific details are not clear, Wnt signaling is essential for normal liver development. HB tumors can be comprised of cells that resemble fetal cells or immature progenitor cells but the cellular make-up of the tumor is frequently heterogeneous, precluding its systematic use for guiding treatment or predicting outcome.
“At present, few studies have addressed whether intrinsic biological differences between tumors impact HB prognosis. Moreover, new treatments are urgently needed for advanced stage tumors, and better understanding of HB pathobiology is a prerequisite for developing targeted therapies,” explains senior study author Dr. Marie-Annick Buendia from the Oncogenesis and Molecular Virology Unit at the Pasteur Institute and Inserm Unit in Paris, France.
Dr. Buendia and colleagues used a sophisticated genetic screening technique to investigate the pathogenesis of HB. They found that ?-catenin was linked with two distinct tumor subclasses that reflect early and late phases of prenatal liver development. Further, they discovered a specific genetic signature that was useful for identifying the two tumor subclasses and predicting disease outcome.
The researchers also demonstrated that the highly proliferating, early stage tumors had characteristics associated with stem cells. Activation of Myc, a stem cell marker that is commonly overexpressed in cancer, appeared to play a key role in this tumor subtype. Further, activation of Myc in mice induced tumors that were strikingly similar to the human immature subtype of HB and inhibition of Myc in HB cells impaired tumorigenesis.
“We demonstrate that hepatic differentiation stage and clinical behavior of HB are intimately linked, and we identify an expression signature with dual capacities in recognizing liver developmental stage and predicting disease outcome. These data can be applied to improve clinical management of pediatric liver cancer and develop therapeutic strategies,” concludes Dr. Buendia.
Researchers in the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy have developed a model for predicting risk of recurrence in early stage colon cancer patients, and have used the model to also predict sensitivity to chemotherapy and targeted therapy regimens. “These findings have important implications for individualizing therapy,” said Katherine Garman, M.D., a gastroenterology fellow
Full Post: New model predicts risk of recurrence in early stage colon cancer patients
New research in mice and five independent collections of human breast tumors has enabled National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientists to confirm that genes for factors contributing to susceptibility for breast cancer metastasis can be inherited. The new findings support earlier results from the same laboratory and appear in the Jan. 1, 2009, issue of Cancer
Full Post: Inherited factors play key role in breast cancer
A novel protein marker has been found that identifies rare adult liver stem cells, whose ability to regenerate injured liver tissue has the potential for cell-replacement therapy. For the first time, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine led by Linda Greenbaum, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, have
Full Post: Discovery of stem cells with potential to regenerate injured liver tissue
After identifying an apparent population of cancer stem cells for neuroblastoma, researchers successfully used a reprogrammed herpes virus to block tumor formation in mice by targeting and killing the cells. Published online Jan. 21 by PLoS (Public Library of Science) One, the study led by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center adds to a growing body
Full Post: Engineered virus targets and kills apparent cancer stem cells in neuroblastoma
In human relationships, a certain “spark” often governs whether we prefer one person to another, and critical first impressions can occur within seconds. A team lead by Johns Hopkins researchers has found that cell-to-cell “friendships” operate in much the same way and that dysfunctional bonding is linked to the spread of cancer. The research was
Full Post: Tiny protein provokes healthy bonding between cells