Study pinpoints gene's role in pancreatic cancer

August 11, 2017 by Ziba Kashef, Yale University
A new study finds that pancreatic cancer cells use glucose to survive and also to spread to other organs. Credit: Yale University

Pancreatic cancer is a particularly deadly form of disease, and patients have few options for effective treatment. But a new Yale-led study has identified a gene that is critical to pancreatic cancer cell growth, revealing a fresh target for new therapies.

Senior author Narendra Wajapayee, associate professor of pathology, and his research team started with the premise that cells need specific nutrients to survive and divide quickly. They searched gene data sets to find genes involved in metabolism regulation that were highly expressed in pancreatic cancer tissue compared to normal pancreatic tissue. Out of 13 metabolic genes identified, they narrowed their search to four that when blocked, reduced the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Further studies in animal models showed that one particular gene—PON2—was required for the growth of and their spread to other organs, such as the liver and lungs.

The research team found that PON2 increases the ability of cells to use glucose to not only survive but also thrive while migrating to other parts of the body. With this insight, Wajapayee and his colleagues are working to develop inhibitors to block PON2 and cancer growth.

Explore further: Starving pancreatic cancer cells: Scientists identify potential pancreatic cancer target

More information: Arvindhan Nagarajan et al. Paraoxonase 2 Facilitates Pancreatic Cancer Growth and Metastasis by Stimulating GLUT1-Mediated Glucose Transport, Molecular Cell (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.07.014

Related Stories

Starving pancreatic cancer cells: Scientists identify potential pancreatic cancer target

October 17, 2016
Researchers have found that a protein called SLC6A14 is overexpressed by several fold in pancreatic tumors taken from patients and in cancerous pancreatic cells lines compared with normal pancreatic tissue or normal pancreatic ...

Immune cells localized near pancreatic cancer cells have altered metabolism, could promote cancer

May 9, 2017
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a virtual death sentence, with only 3 to 5 per cent of patients surviving beyond five years. A key reason that it has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers is that it readily spreads ...

Tumour protein could hold key to pancreatic cancer survival

February 23, 2017
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often a death sentence because current chemotherapies have little impact on the disease.

'Achilles heel' of pancreatic cancer identified

May 1, 2014
A research team at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center reports that inhibiting a single protein completely shuts down growth of pancreatic cancer, a highly lethal disease with no effective therapy.

Pancreatic tumors rely on signals from surrounding cells

January 19, 2017
Just as an invasive weed might need nutrient-rich soil and water to grow, many cancers rely on the right surroundings in the body to thrive. A tumor's microenvironment—the nearby tissues, immune cells, blood vessels and ...

Recommended for you

Magnetized wire could be used to detect cancer in people, scientists report

July 16, 2018
A magnetic wire used to snag scarce and hard-to-capture tumor cells could prove to be a swift and effective tactic for early cancer detection, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers suggest new treatment for rare inherited cancers

July 16, 2018
Studying two rare inherited cancer syndromes, Yale Cancer Center (YCC) scientists have found the cancers are driven by a breakdown in how cells repair their DNA. The discovery, published today in Nature Genetics, suggests ...

Researchers map 'family trees' of acute myeloid leukemia

July 16, 2018
For the first time, a team of international researchers has mapped the family trees of cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) to understand how this blood cancer responds to a new drug, enasidenib. The work also explains ...

Looking at the urine and blood may be best in diagnosing myeloma

July 13, 2018
When it comes to diagnosing a condition in which the plasma cells that normally make antibodies to protect us instead become cancerous, it may be better to look at the urine as well as the serum of our blood for answers, ...

Massive genome havoc in breast cancer is revealed

July 12, 2018
In cancer cells, genetic errors wreak havoc. Misspelled genes, as well as structural variations—larger-scale rearrangements of DNA that can encompass large chunks of chromosomes—disturb carefully balanced mechanisms that ...

Study shows biomarker panel boosts lung cancer risk assessment for smokers

July 12, 2018
A four-protein biomarker blood test improves lung cancer risk assessment over existing guidelines that rely solely upon smoking history, capturing risk for people who have ever smoked, not only for heavy smokers, an international ...

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.