Protein-blocking Molecule May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer Spreading, Study Says

Protein-blocking Molecule May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer Spreading, Study Says
The small non-coding molecule miR-194 may promote the spread of prostate cancer by blocking the anticancer protein SOCS2, a study says. The finding provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms driving metastasis -- or the spread of -- prostate cancer. Gene expression is the translation of information encoded in a gene into protein or RNA structures that operate in a cell. The research, “MicroRNA-194 Promotes Prostate Cancer Metastasis By Inhibiting SOCS2,” was published in the journal Cancer Research. "Prostate cancers only kill men after they have spread or 'metastasized' from the prostate. The identification of markers that accurately predict, at an early stage, prostate tumors that are likely to metastasize could guide the urgency and aggressiveness of treatment -- and this could save lives," Luke Selth, senior author of the study, said in a news release. Seth is a senior research fellow at the University of Adelaide's Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories and a member of the Freemasons Foundation Center for Men's Health. MicroRNAs, or simply miRs, are small RNA molecules that block the expression of certain proteins, acting as regulators of gene expression. Blood levels of miR-194 have been suggested as a biomarker of whether prostate cancer will recur after surgery, but the exact role of the molecule remained elusive until recently. Now researchers have found that increased levels of miR-194 in prostate tissue are associated with disease aggressiveness and a poor outcome. Using h
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