Small alterations in a gene required for responding to chemotherapy can result in drug-resistant ovarian cancer, Alan D'Andrea and his colleagues report in the May issue of Nature Medicine.
In the United States alone, there are approximately 23,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed per year, and more than 15,000 women die from the disease. Ovarian cancer cells are initially sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs such as cisplatin but, by an unknown mechanism, become resistant to the drugs over time. Understanding how the cells become resistant could lead to new drugs to treat the cancer, the researchers say.
The researchers examined the Fanconi anemia-BRCA pathway, which regulates sensitivity to cisplatin, in ovarian tumor cells. They found that the pathway is disrupted in some ovarian tumors and identified an early event -- the removal of methyl groups from a critical gene in the pathway -- that causes cisplatin resistance.
Alan D. D'Andrea
Division of Pediatric Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Tel: +1 617 632 2080
Also available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza