Can a Protein Deficiency Lead to a Poor Prognosis in Breast and Lung Cancers?

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A new study published in PloS One concluded that breast and lung cancer patients who have low levels of a protein called tristetraprolin (TTP) have more aggressive tumors and a poorer prognosis than those with high levels of the protein. Researchers said cancer arises through increased activity of oncogenes, protein that drives cancer growth, and the decreased activity of tumor supressors, protein that block malignant growth and progression. TTP is a cancer supressor protein and has been found to prevent lymphoma growth in mice. To study this further, the researchers here studied TTP by comparing patients who had high and low levels of TTP. They found a network of 50 different  genes associated with low levels of TTP in breast, lung and colon cancer tumors and also found this network present in patients with prostate, pancreatic and bladder cancers. This showed that TTP isinvolved in various mechanisms important for tumor growth and development and suggests that developing agents to target this network may provide an effective treatment accross a variety of tumors.

They also found that low levels of TTP were associated with a poor prognosis some cancers wuch as a higher rate of relapse in breast cancer patients, and a lower survival rate in lung adenocarcinoma patients. In addition, breast and cancer patients with low levels of TTP more often had more aggressive types of tumors.  Further research will focus on understanding how TTP fiunctions as a tumor suppressor in order to develop treatemtns specific for patients who have loiw levels of TTP.


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