Researchers have identified a gene responsible for triggering a cellular chain reaction that causes prostate cancer to metastasize to bone and make it almost untreatable.
The discovery of scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University may significantly affect the treatment of prostate cancer and other types of tumors in which the gene is present, writes New Atlas.
Bone metastases are common in all types of advanced cancer, but are particularly common in patients with prostate and breast cancer. Such a process is often a death sentence for the patient, since currently there are no effective methods of treatment for such a spread.
The biological processes underlying the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer involve a complex interaction between tumor cells and the microenvironment. Scientists have already established that the MDA-9 gene is associated with the differentiation of melanoma, found not only in cancer cells, but also in all forms of tissue. This is the main factor in the spread of cancer. But how it happens, scientists did not quite understand.
|Cancer cells. Photo: vitanovski/Depositphotos|
A new study published in the journal PNAS reveals for the first time how the MDA-9 gene triggers a cellular chain reaction that leads to metastasis and enables tumor cells to invade bone.
“MDA-9 is actually a gene that directly promotes tumor progression and metastasis”says study co-author Swadesh Das.
The researchers say that this gene activates and releases PDGF-AA protein into the bone environment, which regulates cell growth and division. There, this protein interacts with certain cells in the bone marrow, activating the Hippo signaling pathway, which is responsible for cell regeneration. This interaction leads to the production of CXCL5, a protein that attracts cancer cells to bone tissue and stimulates the growth of osteoclasts, which are involved in bone destruction.
“This study is the definitive demonstration of how this biological connection allows metastatic cells to spread and multiply in bone.” – explains Das.
The researchers found that knocking down MDA-9 in prostate cancer cells halts this chain reaction, which could be a way to prevent metastasis. They also found that removing MDA-9 from bone cells had no adverse effect on bone health.
Although the researchers observed the MDA-9 pathway in prostate cancer cells, they believe their findings are important for other types of tumors where MDA-9 is present: brain, breast, lung and pancreas.
Iryna Batiuk, “UP. Life”
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