Hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, is generally unresponsive to treatment. A report published online by Nature, however, shows that tumorigenesis in mice can be reversed simply by switching off a gene. As Dean W. Felsher and colleagues report, inactivating the MYC oncogene prompts cancer cells to behave themselves, differentiating into hepatocytes (liver cells) and associated structures, rather than into the range of aberrant forms characteristic of tumours. Reactivation of the MYC oncogene, however, kicks the cells back to the dark side. These results show how oncogene inactivation may reverse tumorigenesis in the most clinically difficult cancers - more fundamentally, the inactivation of oncogenes uncovers the capacity of tumour cells to differentiate into normal cells and tissues, while retaining their latent potential to become cancerous.
Dean W Felsher (Stanford University, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 650 498 5269
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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