Researchers reveal how Trop2 protein drives tumor growth in prostate, other epithelial cancers

October 16, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers led by Tanya Stoyanova and Dr. Owen Witte of UCLA's Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have determined how a protein known as Trop2 drives the growth of tumor cells in prostate and other epithelial cancers.

This discovery is important because it may prove essential for creating new therapies that stop the growth of cancer, the researchers said. The study is featured on the cover of the Oct. 15 issue of the journal .

The Trop2 protein is expressed on the surface of many types of epithelial cancer cells—cells that form tumors that grow in the skin and the inner and outer linings of organs—but little was known about the protein's role in the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. The UCLA researchers discovered that Trop2 controls those processes through a mechanism that leads to the protein being cleaved into two parts, one inside the cell and one outside. This Trop2 division promotes self-renewal of the , resulting in tumor growth.

"Determining the mechanism of this protein is important for planning treatments that stop the growth of prostate cancer, but it is also overexpressed in so many other types of cancer that it might be a treatment target for many more patients beyond that population," said senior author Witte, director of the Broad Center and a professor in the department of microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics at UCLA.

The finding may have a critical clinical impact, the researchers said, since preventing the cleavage of Trop2 by mutating those sites on the protein where it splits eliminates the protein's ability to promote tumor cell growth. Using this knowledge, they said, new therapy strategies can be developed that block Trop2 molecular signaling, thus stopping its ability to enhance tumor growth in a variety of epithelial malignancies, including prostate, colon, , pancreatic and , among others.

"The reason I became interested in Trop2 was that it is highly expressed in many epithelial cancers but no one knew precisely how the protein worked to promote the disease," said Stoyanova, the study's first author and a postdoctoral scholar in the department of microbiology, immunology and at UCLA.

Explore further: New role for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in regulating skin cancer stem cells

Related Stories

New role for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in regulating skin cancer stem cells

October 19, 2011
Skin squamous cell carcinomas are amongst the most frequent cancers in humans. Recent studies suggest that skin squamous cell carcinoma, like many other human cancers, contain particular cancer cells, known as cancer stem ...

Knockout of protein prevents colon tumor formation in mice

September 29, 2011
A protein that regulates cell differentiation in normal tissue may play a different role in colon and breast cancer, activating proliferation of damaged cells, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago ...

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

November 21, 2011
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 ...

Recommended for you

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

September 22, 2017
Cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, arises from the disruption of essential mechanisms of the normal cell life cycle, such as replication control, DNA repair and cell death. Thanks to the advances ...

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

September 21, 2017
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. ...

Drug combination may improve impact of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

September 21, 2017
Checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy has been shown to be very effective in recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer but only in a minority of patients. University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers ...

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

September 21, 2017
A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how ...

New kinase detection method helps identify targets for developing cancer drugs

September 21, 2017
Purdue University researchers have developed a high-throughput method for matching kinases to the proteins they phosphorylate, speeding the ability to identify multiple potential cancer drug targets.

Brain cancer growth halted by absence of protein, study finds

September 20, 2017
The growth of certain aggressive brain tumors can be halted by cutting off their access to a signaling molecule produced by the brain's nerve cells, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School ...

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.