New study identifies novel role for PEA-15 protein in cancer growth

November 21, 2011, University of Hawaii Cancer Center

A new study from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center reveals that PEA-15, a protein previously shown to slow ovarian tumor growth and metastasis, can alternatively enhance tumor formation in kidney cells carrying a mutation in a cancer-promoting gene called H-Ras.

The H-Ras oncogene is mutated in many human malignancies, and previous reports have shown the ability of H-Ras to contribute to the development, proliferation and metastasis of these tumors. Conversely, PEA-15 had been reported to inhibit tumor and metastasis by opposing H-Ras signals. In ovarian and breast cancer, PEA-15 is proposed to have promising therapeutic potential and in ovarian cancer PEA-15 has shown promise as a marker of prolonged patient survival.

This new study is the first finding of a pro-cancer effect of PEA-15 on proliferation and as such suggests caution in pursuing the use of PEA-15 as an anti-cancer therapeutic. The study results were published online today in the journal Oncogene.

"Our findings reveal a surprising mechanism by which PEA-15 can enhance H-Ras driven transformation of cells, rather than stop it," said Joe W. Ramos, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and co-director of its Cancer Biology Program. "We showed that in a common scenario in which a cell contains a Ras mutation, PEA-15 can accelerate the rate of both in vitro and in vivo," he added.

In contrast to reports suggesting a tumor-suppressor function of PEA-15, Ramos said the discovery confirms that PEA 15 expression can also trigger . "What we now know is that PEA-15 can either enhance or impair the formation of tumors depending on the signaling pathways active in a specific tumor cell."

"As with most cancers, an interplay of factors determines the fate of a patient," noted Florian Sulzmaier, a researcher at the UH Cancer Center and first author of the newly published study. "PEA-15 might still be worth considering for treatment of certain cancers. However, care should be taken in tumor types that carry Ras mutations that could change the outcome of a therapy."

More information: The article, PEA-15 potentiates H-Ras-mediated epithelial cell transformation through phospholipase , appeared in today's online edition of Oncogene.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

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.