First proof: genetics affects cancer
The genetics that will get a man in the cradle, determines in part, how high the risk is, the certain future of cancer to form metastases. A current study provides the first indication that some genes promote the spread of cancer.
Researchers at the Rockefeller University in New York showed that some of birth, existing genes may contribute to the metastasis of tumors, if it comes to a cancer. This confirmed a long-existing presumption that the genetics of a Person determines the course of cancer diseases. The results of the study were recently presented in the world renowned journal “Nature Medicine”.
Cancer can form metastases, or remain in place
Cancer can completely vary. In some patients, the tumors remain in situ, while other people form metastases, and cancer spreads in the body. Now a research team has shown for the first Time, that our existing genetics influences the risk for metastasis.
In the case of many types of cancer and a familial risk
From observational studies, we know already that the risk of cancer is increased to develop in a Person, if in the family cancers reinforces. So far it is unclear, however, how it comes to this family risk. The researchers have discovered a Gene which may promote the progression of Malignant melanoma (the so-called black skin cancer), if it is present. The Team suspects that other inherited Gene variations also influence other types of cancer.
The formation of metastases is due in part to genes
“Cancer Sufferers often ask: Why do I have so much bad luck? Why spread my cancer? As Doctors, we never had an answer,“ says the research head of Sohail Tavazoie. “This research provides an explanation,” adds the chief doctor of the study, Leon Hess.
The mystery of the metastasis
Metastases arise when cancer cells out of the original fabric, to form on to new tumors. This phenomenon worsens the prognosis significantly and often leads to the death of the person Concerned. Medical research has hitherto been assumed that cancer cells gain mutations, this ability to metastasis. However, even after decades of search, such a change could not be found.
A Gene may promote the spread of melanoma
In the current research work was confirmed now, what is hinted at already in previous studies. There is a Gene called ApoE in all cells of the body, is present before cancer occurs. This Gene also seems to influence the spread of melanoma. The Gene produces, according to the study, a Protein that interferes with, apparently, a number of processes used by cancer cells for metastasis. As a result, the cancer cells in healthy tissue to grow and to protect themselves from attacks by immune cells.
Three different versions of the APOE
As the researchers showed, the man is one of three different versions of ApoE in: ApoE2, ApoE3, or ApoE4. In experiments on mice, it turned out that melanomas spread in the case of those at least, who possessed the ApoE4 Gene. The researchers were also able to show that ApoE4 is the most effective Version with regard to the enhancement of the immune response to tumor cells. In comparison with the other gene variants, the mice carrying ApoE4 showed a greater Abundance of tumor-fighting T-cells.
“We believe that a significant influence of the ApoE variants is due to differences in the way that you modulate the attack of the immune system,” explains Benjamin Ostendorf from the research team.
ApoE variant gives clues to the progression of the disease
In a further step, the researchers reviewed the results of 300 cases of people with melanoma. Here, too, showed that those who possessed the Gene for ApoE4, survived, on average, the longest the disease. It was also found that those with the Apoe2 variant contributed, on average, succumbed to the fastest of the disease. According to the study team, these findings could be used for the prognosis of melanoma-diseases.
In addition, the researchers showed that people with ApoE4 are most responsive to immune-boosting therapies that are designed to ensure that the own immune system fight the cancer. The experimental drug RGX-104 was able to grow in mice, the production of Apoe4, which helped the mice to fight the Tumor. The active ingredient is now to be tested in humans.
Further research is needed
In addition, research should be found out how the treatment can be optimized if other ApoE variants are available. ApoE2 was associated with a increased risk of metastasis. The ApoE3 variant seems to be with a better prognosis than ApoE2 but with a worse prognosis than ApoE4 associated.
The effects might not be limited only to cancer
The researchers suggest that the effects of ApoE could go for variants on cancer also. Other studies showed that variations of ApoE to the emergence of Alzheimer’s contribute to disease: an adverse effect was observed for ApoE4, because it seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“It is not quite clear, what the ApoE effect in Alzheimer’s disease, but we believe that our work on cancer may also improve our understanding of this disease,” says research Director Tavazoie. The researchers have already begun to investigate the relationship between ApoE and neurodegenerative diseases. (vb)