Research team identifies role for a microRNA involved in prostate cancer metastasis

January 25, 2017
Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Credit: Wikipedia

Metastasis, or spread of a tumor from the site of origin to additional organs, causes the vast majority of cancer-related deaths, but our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind metastasis remains limited. A research team led by Dean Tang, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, examined the multistep process that leads to metastasis and their work, which illuminates the role of prostate cancer stem cells that promote tumor growth and metastasis, has been published online ahead of print in the journal Nature Communications.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small genetic molecules that play an essential role in regulating many aspects of cancer cell behavior. When they performed a screening of the miRNA library, Dr. Tang and colleagues found that, surprisingly, only a few miRNAs are commonly deficient or not expressed in prostate .

The team found that one specific miRNA molecule, miR-141, not only inhibited but significantly retarded cancer metastasis in several preclinical prostate cancer models. Taken together with the findings from previous studies reporting the molecule's powerful tumor-suppression capability, the current study demonstrates the potential of miR-141 as an inhibitor of prostate cancer cell invasion and metastasis, and suggests that synthetic miR-141 may be developed as a "replacement" therapeutic to target prostate cancer metastasis.

"This study represents the most comprehensive investigation to date of the role of the miR-141 molecule in regulating prostate cancer stem cells and their role in metastasis," says Dr. Tang, senior author of the new study. "These preliminary findings suggest that miR-141 may suppress the metastatic cascade at an early stage and that the overexpression of miR-141 in cells results in less . Our observations provide a rationale for developing these targeted miRNA molecules into novel antitumor and antimetastasis replacement therapies."

Credit: Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Explore further: Predicting and preventing prostate cancer spread

More information: Can Liu et al. MicroRNA-141 suppresses prostate cancer stem cells and metastasis by targeting a cohort of pro-metastasis genes, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14270

Related Stories

Predicting and preventing prostate cancer spread

January 25, 2017
University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered a new pathway which regulates the spread of prostate cancer around the body.

Mouse model shows that Notch activation can drive metastatic prostate cancer

June 13, 2016
Notch signaling is involved in prostate cancer and, in a paper published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions have shown that, in a mouse model ...

Research helps explain why androgen-deprivation therapy doesn't work for many prostate cancers

January 5, 2017
Metastatic prostate cancer, or prostate cancer that has spread to other organs, is incurable. In new research published in the journal Science, Roswell Park Cancer Institute scientists have identified two gatekeeper genes ...

Cancer cells metastasize by hitching a ride on platelets

September 8, 2016
Metastasis of cancer cells to sites distant from the primary tumor is the leading cause of cancer-related death, and there is growing evidence that platelets aid the dissemination of cancer cells.

Uncovering the mechanisms that support the spread of ovarian cancer

October 10, 2016
A very high mortality rate is associated with ovarian cancer, in part due to difficulties in detecting and diagnosing the disease at early stages before tumors have spread, or metastasized, to other locations in the body.

Recommended for you

Poliovirus therapy induces immune responses against cancer

September 20, 2017
An investigational therapy using modified poliovirus to attack cancer tumors appears to unleash the body's own capacity to fight malignancies by activating an inflammation process that counter's the ability of cancer cells ...

Scientists restore tumor-fighting structure to mutated breast cancer proteins

September 20, 2017
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have successfully determined the full architecture of the breast cancer susceptibility protein (BRCA1) for the first time. This three-dimensional information provides ...

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 ...

Researchers identify new target, develop new drug for cancer therapies

September 20, 2017
Opening up a new pathway to fight cancer, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to target an enzyme that is crucial to tumor growth while also blocking the mechanism that has made past attempts to ...

New clinical trial explores combining immunotherapy and radiation for sarcoma patients

September 20, 2017
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers are investigating a new approach to treat high-risk soft-tissue sarcomas by combining two immunotherapy drugs with radiation therapy to stimulate the immune system to ...

Targeted antibiotic use may help cure chronic myeloid leukaemia

September 19, 2017
The antibiotic tigecycline, when used in combination with current treatment, may hold the key to eradicating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) cells, according to new research.

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.