Researchers Find Gene That Can Regulate Prostate Cancer Development

Researchers Find Gene That Can Regulate Prostate Cancer Development
Recent results from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai researchers have shown that two approved cancer drugs have the capacity to turn on a gene responsible for cancer cells’ dormancy. In the study entitled, "NR2F1 controls tumor cell dormancy via ​SOX9- and ​RARβ-driven quiescence programmes," published in Nature Communications, the research team found that the NR2F1 gene works as a regulator of cancer cell dormancy or proliferation, depending on whether it is turned on or off. Through the combination of azacytidine and retinoic acid, the team observed that there was a significantly increased level of active NR2F1 in tumor cells, both in animal models of prostate cancer and in actual prostate cancer cells from human patients. The data obtained from this study suggests that NR2F1 acts as a master regulator of cancer cell growth, and can influence different genes that dictate if cancer cells remain inactive or proliferate intensely, eventually leading to cancer spreading throughout the body (metastasis). Furthermore, the authors found that during human development, NR2F1 controls genetic programs in the embryo’s stem cells, where it can direct neuronal development. “Our results explain why some tumor cells scattered through the body are committed to remaining harmless for years, while others cause active disease,” Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine, said in a news release. “In finding this master switch we found a way to analyze tumor cells before treatment to determine the risk of a cancer recurrence or metastasis.” “Azacytidine and retinoic acid, the latter a form of vitamin A, prevented tumor cells from rapidly multiplying, re
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