Glypican-3 gene function in regulating body size helps inform novel cancer treatments

May 12, 2008

In a leading study that has implications for the development of novel therapies for a number of breast, lung and ovarian cancers that have lost the expression of a gene called glypican-3 (GPC3), Sunnybrook researchers have discovered how the loss of the GPC3 gene induces overgrowth through certain growth factors such as Sonic Hedgehog which stimulate cancer growth.

Published today in Developmental Cell, the study examines the molecular mechanism by which lack of functional GPC3 causes overgrowth in the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS), a rare disorder that predisposes to cancers.

“This vital new finding at the molecular level opens doors for the development of novel treatments to inhibit overgrowth activity to benefit SGBS patients and the many breast, lung and ovarian cancer patients linked to loss of GPC3,” says Dr. Jorge Filmus, senior scientist, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Sunnybrook Research Institute, and the study’s lead investigator. Early clinical trials presented at the last annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in which cancer patients are being treated using Hedgehog-inhibitor drugs show promise.

GPC3 or glypican-3 is one of six genes of the glypican family. Glypicans are expressed predominantly during development in a stage and tissue specific manner suggesting they play a role in cell growth and in establishing the shape of tissues and organs.

Source: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study prompts new ideas on cancers' origins

December 16, 2017
Rapidly dividing, yet aberrant stem cells are a major source of cancer. But a new study suggests that mature cells also play a key role in initiating cancer—a finding that could upend the way scientists think about the ...

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

December 15, 2017
Understanding how cancer cells are able to metastasize—migrate from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body—and developing therapies to inhibit this process are the focus of many laboratories around the country. ...

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists pinpoint gene to blame for poorer survival rate in early-onset breast cancer patients

December 15, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found that inherited variation in a particular gene may be to blame for the lower survival rate of patients diagnosed with early-onset breast cancer.

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

'Bet hedging' explains the efficacy of many combination cancer therapies

December 14, 2017
The efficacy of many FDA-approved cancer drug combinations is not due to synergistic interactions between drugs, but rather to a form of "bet hedging," according to a new study published by Harvard Medical School researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.