DNA-repairing protein may be key to preventing recurrence of some cancers

January 28, 2013
Dr. Zhao works in his lab at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the UCF College of Medicine. Credit: University of Central Florida

Just as the body can become resistant to antibiotics, certain methods of killing cancer tumors can end up creating resistant tumor cells. But a University of Central Florida professor has found a protein present in several types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer, which could be helpful in preventing tumors from coming back.

The protein, KLF8, appears to protect tumor cells from drugs aimed at killing them and even aid the tumor cells' ability to regenerate.

"All cells have a mechanism," explained Jihe Zhao, a medical doctor and researcher who in the past few months has published several articles related to the protein in the and Oncogene, among others. "That's why we survive constant threats. But KLF8 is overexpressed in specific cancers, such as and ovarian cancer. The thought is that if we can stop it from switching on, we may be able to stop the tumors from coming back as part of therapy. We still need to do a lot more research, but it is plausible."

There are between 2.5 million and 2.7 million women who have breast cancer in the United States and 10 to 20 percent will experience a recurrence, according to the . Current treatment options, depending on the stage of cancer, include surgical removal followed by chemotherapy using a combination of cancer killing drugs. Each year about 22,200 women are also diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

DNA damage-based chemotherapies depend on failure of cancer cells to repair the DNA damage and subsequent cell death, according to the journal article. Aberrant high levels of DNA repair function in the cells likely increase not only the resistance of the cells to such therapies but also the malignancy of the cells due to improper DNA repair-mediated genomic and chromosomal instability.

In the study, Zhao's team tested one specific cancer-fighting drug used in the treatment of breast cancer to determine the role of the protein.

"Indeed, our results have clearly linked the KLF8-promoted DNA repair to the cell resistance to doxorubicin-induced cell death," Zhao said. "It remains to be determined whether KLF8 plays a similar role in repairing DNA damage caused by other types of genotoxic agents such as DNA alkylating agents and ionizing radiation."

Even so, the results suggest that in addition to enhancing the drug resistance of the , KLF8 could play a role in disturbing genomic integrity through its aberrant DNA repair function and subsequently contribute to aggressive progression of cancer.

Explore further: Key function of mutation in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene discovered

More information: http://www.jbc.org/content/287/52/43720 and http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/onc2012545a.html

Related Stories

Key function of mutation in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene discovered

September 1, 2011
It is widely known that mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility 1 (BRCA1) gene significantly increase the chance of developing breast and ovarian cancers, but the mechanisms at play are not fully understood. Now, researchers ...

Targeting PTEN may prevent skin cancer

July 26, 2011
Scientists believe they have identified a role for PTEN, a known tumor suppressor, in removing DNA damage derived from UVB radiation, a known risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancer, according to a study published in Cancer ...

Researchers uncover novel role of BRCA1 in regulating the survival of skin stem cells

January 3, 2013
Our DNA, which stores our genetic information, is constantly exposed to damage. If not properly repaired, DNA damage can lead to cell death. This, in turn, can lead to tissue exhaustion and ageing, or induce mutations resulting ...

Blocking molecular target could make more cancers treatable with PARP inhibitors

June 29, 2011
BOSTON--Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have demonstrated a molecular strategy they say could make a much larger variety of tumors treatable with PARP inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer drugs.

Recommended for you

Study provides insight into link between two rare tumor syndromes

August 22, 2017
UCLA researchers have discovered that timing is everything when it comes to preventing a specific gene mutation in mice from developing rare and fast-growing cancerous tumors, which also affects young children. This mutation ...

Retaining one normal BRCA gene in breast, ovarian cancers influences patient survival

August 22, 2017
Determining which cancer patients are likely to be resistant to initial treatment is a major research effort of oncologists and laboratory scientists. Now, ascertaining who might fall into that category may become a little ...

Clear link between heavy vitamin B intake and lung cancer

August 22, 2017
New research suggests long-term, high-dose supplementation with vitamins B6 and B12—long touted by the vitamin industry for increasing energy and improving metabolism—is associated with a two- to four-fold increased lung ...

Study identifies miR122 target sites in liver cancer and links a gene to patient survival

August 22, 2017
A new study of a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development shows that the molecule interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, ...

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

August 21, 2017
Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs ...

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

August 21, 2017
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then ...

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.