A new cancer-causing gene with biomarker potential is revealed in Nature.
The gene encodes a protein called GOLPH3, which is found in a stacked cellular organelle known as the Golgi apparatus. GOLPH3 has previously been found to be amplified in many human tumours. Lynda Chin and colleagues now show that expressing more of this protein activates the mTOR signalling pathway, implicated in nearly all cancers, and makes mouse and human cells become cancerous. However, having more GOLPH3 also renders cancer cells more sensitive to the cancer drug rapamycin, which works by inhibiting the mTOR pathway.
Drugs that target the mTOR pathway are currently an intense focus of cancer drug development, but the clinical response to rapamycin and its analogues has been feeble. The authors hope that GOLPH3 levels may help predict sensitivity to mTOR inhibitors, but the protein's predictive value as a biomarker has yet to be demonstrated.
Lynda Chin (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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