Ovarian Cancer Gene Signature May Help Predict Survival, Reveals Novel Therapy Target

Ovarian Cancer Gene Signature May Help Predict Survival, Reveals Novel Therapy Target
A family of genes called homeobox (HOX), involved in the embryo growth process, may be activated in ovarian cancer, resulting in resistance to chemotherapy and poor prognosis, according to researchers at the University of Surrey in England. The study, "The prognostic significance of specific HOX gene expression patterns in ovarian cancer," published in the International Journal of Cancer, also revealed that targeting HOX with a drug known as HXR9 could help prevent chemotherapy resistance. “We’ve identified a set of genes which play a contributing role in resistance to chemotherapy, which is a major problem in the treatment of ovarian cancer," the study's lead author, Dr. Zoe Kelly, said in a press release. "We also have strong and extensive cell line data which shows that using HXR9 can overcome this drug resistance, making the cell more susceptible to chemotherapy treatment." HOX genes are a family of transcription factors that regulate the expression of genes involved in DNA repair and cell differentiation. Although most of these genes are switched off in adult life, some cancers, including ovarian cancer, can switch their expression back on. However, how their aberrant expression influenced the disease was unclear. In this study, the team found that all patients who died from this disease had a high level of five specific HOX genes, regardless of their length of survival
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