Nav: Home

Advance in understanding the disparity in prognosis between men and women in melanoma

December 14, 2016

Though it has been shown that men who get melanoma are twice as likely to die from the disease as women, the biological explanation for this is poorly understood. Research led by Dr. Alan Spatz, Director of Surgical and Molecular Pathology at the Jewish General Hospital and head of the "X chromosome and cancer" lab at the Lady Davis Institute in Montreal, reveals that the decreased expression of the X chromosome gene PPP2R3B and its protein PR70 are positively linked to tumor progression in this aggressive form of skin cancer. The finding is published in Science Translational Medicine.

"We focused our research on the machinery of the X chromosome because we postulated that the inactivation of one of the two X chromosomes in women, as opposed to men who have an X and a Y, and the way this mechanism is regulated, may have deep implications on the cell biology of cancer cells" explains Dr. Spatz, who has a long-standing interest in the role of the X chromosome in cancer. "I proposed in 2004 a theoretical model of X-linked tumor suppressor genes loss and oncogenes activation that since has been validated in many situations. The fact that two X's interact together in females has also implications for cancer. We believe that the genetic specificity of the X chromosome plays a significant function in the gender difference we observe in melanoma. And we see unique regulation of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes in the X chromosome."

Dr. Spatz, Professor of Pathology and Oncology at McGill University, and Dr. Leon van Kempen, COO and Scientific Director Molecular Pathology Center, have extensively studied the gene PPP2R3B, which is located on the X chromosome in females, but on the Y in males. The expression of this gene has been independently correlated with more favourable progression in melanoma and is important because its expression is higher in females. PPP2R3B codes for the PR70 protein, which decreases melanoma growth by negatively interfering with DNA cell replication and, therefore, acting as an X-linked tumor suppressor.

PR70 is at the forefront of controlling the cell replication cascade. From a clinical perspective, this research suggests there could be potential anti-cancer therapies in actioning the proteins linked to PR70. The proteomics capabilities that have been developed at the Segal Cancer Centre and Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital will eventually be instrumental in profiling and identiying the active proteins that could be most effectively targeted by novel therapies.

"I believe this discovery advances our understanding of the specific role of the X chromosome genetics in modulating the expression of genes that are critical in cancer progression," Dr. Spatz said. "Specifically, this is a new avenue for exploring X-linked tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes. I'm confident that we will eventually be able to exploit this discovery to pursue new therapeutic avenues against cancer."
-end-
"The protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit PR70 is a gonosomal melanoma tumor suppressor gene" by Drs. Leon van Kempen, Alan Spatz et al appears in Science Translational Medicine.

McGill University

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.