Study pinpoints gene's role in pancreatic cancer

August 11, 2017 by Ziba Kashef
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

Researchers discover a new target for 'triple-negative' breast cancer

November 20, 2017
So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form. It accounts for only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases, but is responsible for about 25 percent of breast cancer fatalities.

Study reveals new mechanism used by cancer cells to disarm attacking immune cells

November 20, 2017
A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) identifies a substance released by pancreatic cancer cells that protects ...

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

November 20, 2017
A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at ...

Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose cancer drugs

November 20, 2017
Doctors have many drugs available to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. However, there is no way to predict, by genetic markers or other means, how a patient will respond to a particular drug. This can lead to ...

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension

November 17, 2017
Shortness of breath and respiratory distress often increase the suffering of advanced-stage lung cancer patients. These symptoms can be triggered by pulmonary hypertension, as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart ...

Researchers discover an Achilles heel in a lethal leukemia

November 16, 2017
Researchers have discovered how a linkage between two proteins in acute myeloid leukemia enables cancer cells to resist chemotherapy and showed that disrupting the linkage could render the cells vulnerable to treatment. St. ...

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.