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."
"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:

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.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...