Journal: Cancer Cell
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A metabolic gene variant promotes tumour growth
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The variant of a metabolic gene that is responsible for tumour growth and proliferation has been identified. This promises to provide a new target for therapy.
A gene involved in breaking down the sugar glucose, PKM, is expressed in two variant forms, PKM1 and PKM2. Cancer cells and healthy cells have different ratios of the two variants.
To understand how these variants are involved in tumour growth, a team led by a Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine researcher engineered mice to express each variant alone.
They found that mice expressing only PKM1 were more likely to develop cancer in response to a carcinogen than mice expressing only PKM2 cells. Further investigation revealed that neuroendocrine tumour cells had more PKM1 and thus a higher PKM1 to PKM2 ratio as well as increased cell proliferation.
These findings demonstrate the importance of PKM1 in tumour growth and highlight its potential as a therapeutic target for some types of cancer.
- Cancer Cell 33, 355–367 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.02.004