Key growth factor identified in T cell leukemia

Blocking a growth factor receptor cripples cancer growth in a form of T cell leukemia, according to a study published online on August 1 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Approximately half of the cases of T cell (T-ALL) carry in a cellular signaling pathway called Notch, which result in aberrant activation of the cell. A study by Andrew Weng and colleagues at the British Columbia Cancer Agency now shows that activation of the Notch pathway promotes the expression of a receptor for insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which drives the growth and survival of the cancer cells.

Cancer cells with an activated Notch pathway but lacking the IGF-1 receptor had reduced growth in mice, and blocking the receptor with drugs improved their survival. Simply reducing the amount of receptor resulted in the loss of cancer stem cells—the cells responsible for originating and perpetuating the disease. Human T-ALL cells were also found to express IGF-1 receptor, suggesting that blocking the receptor in combination with standard treatment may reduce the risk of disease relapse.

More information: Medyouf, H., et al. 2011. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20110121

Provided by Rockefeller University Press

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New molecular therapy candidates for pancreatic cancer

Apr 19, 2010

A research team from Japan investigated expression of insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) in pancreatic cancer cell lines. All the cell lines examined expressed IGF-IR under culture conditions without IGF-I in ...

Growth factor predicts poor outcome in breast cancer

Aug 29, 2008

The response to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) in breast cancer cells predicts an aggressive tumor that is less likely to respond to treatment, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears ...

Recommended for you

Britain to map 100,000 DNA code sequences

34 minutes ago

British scientists are to map 100,000 complete DNA code sequences in a project that will make the country a world leader in genetic research on cancer and rare diseases, the prime minister said on Friday.

New paper describes how DNA avoids damage from UV light

14 hours ago

In the same week that the U.S. surgeon general issued a 101-page report about the dangers of skin cancer, researchers at Montana State University published a paper breaking new ground on how DNA – the genetic code in every ...

User comments