September 30, 2010

Gene Found Associated with Aggressive Skin Cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.. One million people are diagnosed every year. Scientists have discovered that the loss of a gene, INPPF5A, can be used to predict the onset and track the progression of this aggressive skin cancer.

Targeting INPPF5A could provide doctors with better ways to treat and even prevent cutaneous squamos cell carcinoma, or SSC. SSC is like an army of invaders that infiltrate the body quickly and tactfully. SSC metastasizes at an enormous rate, and this is why the cancer is so viscous and harmful.

"Loss of INPP5A can be detected in most primary SCC tumors and even in actinic keratoses, or AK, the earliest stage in SCC development," Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and the study's lead author was quoted as saying. "Importantly, further reduction of INPP5A was detected as a subset of SCC tumors progressed from primary to metastatic stage."

"At present, our ability to assess who is at risk for SCC and our ability to treat the disease, especially in its aggressive forms, is clearly inadequate," Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Research Director of TGen and one of the study's authors was quoted as saying. "Without question, additional investigations into INPP5A are warranted. Studies like this are critical if we are to ever get a handle on this all-too-common type of skin cancer."

The study used TGen's advanced genomic technologies to analyze 40 skin tissue samples that ranged from normal skin to highly invasive SCC. They used a technique called high-resolution array-based comparative genomic hybridization to identify genetic deletions in a portion of DNA that normally harbors the INPP5A gene.

INPPF5A interacts with the chemical pathways of cells to suppress their ability to spread, so this could be a key way to suppress the growth of a tumor.

"Understanding the precise mechanisms of INPP5A loss, and exploring the connection between INPP5A and uncontrolled cellular proliferation, could provide us with new insights," Dr. Michael Bittner, Co-Director of TGen's Computational Biology Division, and the study's senior author was quoted as saying. "Continuing studies could lead to new drug targets that could contribute to better treatments for patients with SCC, and some day, perhaps, even help prevent this type of skin cancer."

The research in genetics is growing everyday and providing insight into how diseases occur, so the use of genes in treatment is becoming more and more prevalent.

SOURCE: Cancer Prevention Research, published online September 29, 2010