Protein Seen as Hub for Spread of Ovarian Cancer May Point Way to Limiting Metastasis

Protein Seen as Hub for Spread of Ovarian Cancer May Point Way to Limiting Metastasis
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researchers have identified a protein, called FER, that appears to be involved in the metastatic process of ovarian cancer cells though the activation of an important signaling pathway in these cells. The finding may lead to new therapies that can impair the spread of ovarian cancer cells. Their study, "HGF-independent regulation of MET and GAB1 by nonreceptor tyrosine kinase FER potentiates metastasis in ovarian cancer" was published in Genes and Development. Ovarian cancer is known as a "silent killer" because it is often detected at an advanced stage, when the tumor cells have already spread to other parts of the body. About two thirds of women with the disease are diagnosed at Stage 3 or later, when metastasis is already present. "The statistics point to the urgent need to address advanced disease — metastasis — in ovarian cancer," Gaofeng Fan, PhD, a postdoctoral investigator who conducted most of the experiments in the laboratory of his mentor,Professor Nicholas K. Tonks, said in a press release. "The problem is especially difficult because of a feature specific to this form of cancer: ovarian cells move around readily within the peritoneal cavity, via the peritoneal fluid, both under normal conditions, and also, unfortunately, when cancer is present. "Thus, in addition to being able to colonize other sites in the body via blood vessels, ovarian cancer cells have another way of migrating. It's very hard to rend
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Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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