ID Molecule Linked To Cancer Aggressiveness
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found a genetic marker that controls an enzyme present in aggressive and metastatic cancer.
The study suggests an absence of microRNA-101 is related to high expression of the protein EZH2, which was previously shown to be active in metastatic cancers. MicroRNA’s are molecules that help regulate gene expression. miR-101 is one of few miRNA’s shown to play such an important role in the development of cancer.
In this study, the researchers found miR-101 is significantly underexpressed in a variety of cancers, including prostate and breast cancer. Essentially, the researchers believe that miR-101 suppresses the EZH2 protein. When miR-101 is lost in cancer, EZH2 expression is uncontrolled, and that haywire in-gene expression leads to more aggressive cancer growth.
The findings suggest that loss of miR-101 could potentially be used as a marker of aggressive or metastatic cancer. Replacement of miR-101 in cancers could also be developed as a future cancer treatment.