Researchers identify potential new strategy to treat ovarian cancer

April 25, 2014 by Alison Barbuti, University of Manchester

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists studying cancerous tumour tissues in a laboratory believe they have identified a potential new strategy to treat ovarian cancer – which affects around 7,000 women in the UK each year.

Recently developed drugs have increased patient survival rates by targeting a tumour's that supply and oxygen to cancer cells.

However, many patients go on to develop resistance to these therapies and grow new blood vessels that spread the cancer again.

A team from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - say blocking several avenues that tumour cells use to escape eradication at the same time is now the way forward rather than current drugs, which target only one molecule.

The research gives scientists the opportunity to develop new anticancer drugs that target ovarian tumour growth through the inhibition of the development of new tumour blood vessels.

Ovarian is the deadliest of all gynaecological cancers, and since the majority of patients are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage, prognosis is generally poor. Currently 7,000 women are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year. Of those, more than 4,000 are not expected to survive but if women are diagnosed earlier 90% of those cases could beat the disease.

Scientists looked at the role of a particular set of molecules in controlling the activity of , proteins that are responsible for the stimulation of blood vessel growth.

Dr Egle Avizienyte, who co-led the research with Professor Gordon Jayson, said: "We know that a molecule called heparan sulphate (HS) is involved in blood vessel growth through facilitating interactions between the growth factors and their receptors that induce the development of new blood vessels. This is controlled by proteins known as HS6STs which regulate HS structure. By knocking down these proteins – reducing their levels in – we were able to reduce activity of growth factors and stop cells inducing the development of new blood vessels."

The studies in tumour tissue in the laboratory showed that reducing HS6STs led to a reduction of tumour growth.

Professor Gordon Jayson, who leads the research group, said: "This knowledge gives us the opportunity to develop new anticancer drugs aimed against these growth factors. Targeting multiple factors and blocking several avenues that tumour cells use to escape eradication at the same time may be a better strategy than current drugs, which target only one molecule."

Explore further: New type of cell communication regulates blood vessel formation and tumor growth

More information: Cole CL, Rushton G, Jayson GC, Avizienyte E. "Ovarian Cancer Cell Heparan Sulfate 6-O-Sulfotransferases Regulate an Angiogenic Program Induced by Heparin-binding Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)-like Growth Factor/EGF Receptor Signaling." J Biol Chem. 2014 Apr 11;289(15):10488-501. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.534263. Epub 2014 Feb 22.

Related Stories

New type of cell communication regulates blood vessel formation and tumor growth

March 20, 2014
When tumours grow, new blood vessels are formed that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tumour cells. A research group at Uppsala University has discovered a new type of cell communication that results in suppressed blood ...

Cancer therapy may be too targeted

March 16, 2014
Researchers have identified two novel cancer genes that are associated with the development of a rare, highly aggressive, cancer of blood vessels. These genes may now act as markers for future treatments and explain why narrowly ...

Research to end asbestos-related cancer

May 16, 2013
Scientists from Flinders University are trying to develop a new treatment for a highly aggressive, asbestos-related lung cancer that is set to become more prevalent in the future.

Suffocating tumors could lead to new cancer drugs

July 26, 2013
Scientists have discovered a new molecule that prevents cancer cells from responding and surviving when starved of oxygen and which could be developed into new treatments for the disease, according to new research published ...

Scientists discover new way to target cancer

December 12, 2011
Scientists have discovered a new way to target cancer through manipulating a master switch responsible for cancer cell growth.

New strategy to attack tumor-feeding blood vessels

June 6, 2011
Scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have discovered a key molecule needed to kill the blood vessels that supply tumours.

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

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.