Oncology Central

Ets gene family implicated in high-grade brain tumor growth

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Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre (CA, USA) have implicated the Ets family of genes in the growth of a spectrum of malignant gliomas. The study was published recently in the journal Cell Reports.

“Any given tumor can harbor a variety of different combinations of mutations,” explained author Moise Danielpour of Cedars-Sinai. “Despite advances in radiation and chemotherapy, there are currently no effective curative regimens for treatment for these diverse tumors.”

The team began the study by modeling high grade gliomas using neural stem cells. They employed an advanced form of rapid modeling that can create up to five distinct tumor models in 45 minutes.

“The ability to rapidly model unique combinations of driver mutations from a patient’s tumor enhances our quest to create patient-specific animal models of human brain tumors,” Danielpour added.

Once the tumors were modeled, it was determined that Ets factors controlled the expression of genes determining tumor growth and cell fate. When Ets gene expression was blocked, the team determined that initiation of gliomagenesis was prevented.

Corresponding author Joshua Breunig (Cedars-Sinai) highlighted the potential future impacts of the research: “With these new genetic findings, our group of researchers plan to develop targeted therapeutics that we hope will one day be used treat patients with high-grade brain tumors and increase their survival.”

The team now hope to identify the role of each Ets factor in tumor recurrence and progression following treatment.

Sources: Breunig JJ, Levy R, Antonuk CD. Ets Factors Regulate Neural Stem Cell Depletion and Gliogenesis in Ras Pathway Glioma. Cell Rep. 12(2), 258–271 (2015); Cedars-Sinai Medical Center press release

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