Researchers Link Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer to Process of RB Gene Loss

Researchers Link Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer to Process of RB Gene Loss
Researchers found that the mechanism by which a tumor loses a key tumor suppressor, the retinoblastoma or RB gene, influences the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The study, “Differential impact of RB status on E2F1 reprogramming in human cancer,” was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The retinoblastoma (RB) susceptibility gene was one of the first genes identified as a tumor suppressor, meaning that it helps protect cells from entering a cancerous or malignant state. But while researchers have removed the gene to study how its absence promotes cancer, the natural mechanisms that made the RB gene function remained unknown or poorly understood. As a result, a team of scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and colleagues analyzed tumor and cell-free DNA samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer. They found that direct loss of the RB gene was the primary mechanism leading to RB loss of function in prostate cancers. The other way the gene could be disturbed was by inactivating its function. "RB loss causes a major reprogramming of gene expression, allowing induction of pathways that promote features that induce characteristics of lethal disease," Karen Knudsen, PhD, lead author of the study and director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Thomas Jefferson University, said in a press release. This broad rewiring of gene expression had clear implic
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