Cancer is commonly thought of as uncontrolled cellular proliferation, but in the early stages of many cancers, the activation of certain tumour-forming genes goes hand-in-hand with cellular senescence. Researchers now think they know why.
Two papers in Nature link so-called oncogene-induced senescence with the DNA damage response. The groups of Fabrizio d'Adda di Fagagna and Thanos D. Halazonetis show that activated oncogenes can cause aberrant DNA replication and thereby DNA damage, which leads to cell senescence.
The response can block tumour progression, so oncogene-induced senescence may represent an innate cancer protection mechanism. But it is all too often disabled by further mutations. Understanding the link between cell senescence and tumours may aid the development of diagnostic and prognostic tools based on senescence markers.
Fabrizio d'Adda di Fagagna (The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation, Milan, Italy)
Thanos D. Halazonetis (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza