Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have found that one of the genes commonly thought to promote the growth and spread of some types of cancers is in fact beneficial in bladder cancer – a discovery that could alter the way bladder cancers are treated in the future.
The study shows that in bladder cancer the SRC gene may help rather than hinder the natural ability of cells to suppress aggressive tumor growth.
‘We found that SRC modifies a recently discovered metastasis suppressor gene called RhoGDI2 making it more potent at slowing bladder cancer’s ability to metastasize,’ says lead author Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, professor of urologic oncology and molecular physiology at the UVA School of Medicine.
SRC is a type of oncogene. In most cancers SRC has been shown to promote tumor development and contribute to the spread of cancer. Other genes, called metastasis suppressor genes, block this activity, and only when their levels are reduced is cancer able to spread.
In the study, researchers analyzed human bladder cancer and discovered that SRC levels diminish as bladder cancer progresses. They also found that reduced SRC levels and significant levels of the metastasis suppressor gene, RhoGD12, appear mutually exclusive in individual tumors – providing evidence that both genes are likely involved in the process leading to suppression of bladder cancer metastases.
‘Our findings have important implications for the use of targeted therapeutic agents that inhibit SRC in bladder cancer and highlight the general importance of personalizing therapy in cancer,’ says Theodorescu. ‘Our data suggest using caution for their use in treating bladder cancer until more studies are carried out to define the implications of this form of therapy in bladder cancer.’
Release Date: March 25, 2009
Source: University of Virginia Health System