Link Between Molecular Mechanisms in Prostate Cancer and Ewing’s Sarcoma Discovered
Medical researchers at Indiana University Bloomington have found evidence for a link between Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects thousands of children and young adults every year and prostate cancer, which affects millions of men age 50 and older.
The results of the study entitled An Interaction with Ewing’s Sarcoma Breakpoint Protein EWS Defines a Specific Oncogenic Mechanism of ETS Factors Rearranged in Prostate Cancer, recently reported in the journal Cell Reports, suggest that the molecular mechanism that triggers the rare disease Ewing’s Sarcoma could act as a potential new direction for the treatment of more than 50% of patients that have prostate cancer.
Ewing’s Sarcoma affects about 1/1 million children and young adults age 10 to 19 and is terminal in 44% of teens age 15 to 19 and 30% of children.
Peter Hollenhorst, an associate professor in the medical sciences program at IU Bloomington, said: “This research shows that the molecular mechanism involved in the development of most prostate cancers is very similar to the molecular mechanism known to cause Ewing’s sarcoma. It also suggests that this mechanism might be used to explore a common treatment for both diseases, one of which is not often pursued by drug companies due to its rarity.”
There are 28 genes in the human body known as ETS genes, four of which are known to produce proteins that cause prostate cancer. These four cancer-causing genes, or “oncogenes,” are called ETV1, ETV4, ETV5 and ERG, the last of which has been implicated in over 50% of all prostate cancers. The other three combined play a role in about 7% of prostate cancers.
Ewing’s sarcoma results from errors in the chromosome repair process that causes the merger of two separate gene segments into a mutant hybrid gene, also known as a chimeric or fusion gene. One of these genes is called EWS, the other is a gene that produces ETS proteins.
Hollenhorst’s study is the first to show that the proteins produced by the EWS gene interact with all four ETS proteins known to trigger prostate cancer. Moreover, the EWS protein only interacts with proteins from these four harmful ETS genes, not the other 24 ETS genes not found to play a role in prostate cancer.
“A molecular mechanism that sets these four genes apart from the ones that don’t trigger cancer has never been identified until now. This is significant because it suggests that any compound that disrupts EWS-ETS interaction would specifically inhibit the function of the four oncogenes and not the others, which play important roles in the healthy function of the body,” said Hollenhorst.
The team also found the ETS genes implicated in prostate cancer interact with the un-mutated form of the EWS gene. In Ewing’s sarcoma, the small blue tumours that characterise the disease do not occur unless mutation occurs.
The gene link could mean children suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma may respond to future prostate cancer treatments.
Posted on 10 November, 2016, in Blog, Research and tagged cancer, cancer research, cancer treatment, childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Ewing's Sarcoma, paediatric cancer, Pediatric cancer. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.