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Protein Plays Role in Ovarian Cancer

Discovery could change detection, treatment of disease, study says

MONDAY, May 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Reduced or lost protein expression of the tumor-suppressing gene Rb2/p130 may play a key role in ovarian cancer, says a study in the May 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Researchers at the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine in the Center for Biotechnology at Temple University in Philadelphia analyzed 45 primary ovarian cancer samples. They found 40 percent of those samples had a decrease or total loss of Rb2 protein expression.

"In the samples where the protein was decreases or lost, there was an inverse correlation to the aggressiveness of the cancer," study author Giuseppina D'Andrilli, a research fellow at the Sbarro Institute, said in a prepared statement.

"This is consistent with the theory that if the Rb2 protein is still present in the tumor tissue, the aggressiveness of the tumor is less," D'Andrilli said.

The researchers then introduced correct copies of the Rb2 gene into the ovarian tumor cells that had reduced or no Rb2 protein expression.

"Introducing the gene Rb2/p130 allowed the cells to produce more proteins, and this increased protein production brought about a dramatic arrest of cells in the G1, or initial phase of the cell cycle," D'Andrilli said.

"This study is just one step in saying, 'OK, we have observed that the Rb2 gene has a role in ovarian carcinogenesis. We have demonstrated that it is a protein that has to be considered in the future in ovarian cancer patients,'" D'Andrilli said.

This line of research could lead to new ways to detect and treat ovarian cancer, which will develop in about one out of every 57 women in the United States.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about ovarian cancer.

SOURCE: Temple University, news release, May 1, 2004
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