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Key factor in metastasis in skin cancer discovered
Rostock scientists have discovered a protein that is responsible for the spread of tumor cells in black skin cancer. Black skin cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer because the metastases begin to spread at an early stage.
Clarification of the dangerous formation of metastases Scientists in Rostock have succeeded in taking an important step forward in cancer research. Brigitte Pützer from the Institute for Experimental Gene Therapy and Tumor Research at the University of Rostock said that with the discovery of the key protein DNp73 in these melanoma cells, there is access to elucidating the dangerous metastasis of tumors. Ultimately, this knowledge can be used to describe the danger of a tumor in more detail. As the researchers reported in the journal "Cancer Cell", the more DNp73 there is in a cancer cell, the greater the risk of detachment from the original tumor.
Mechanism as in colon and prostate cancer The Rostockers have found that DNp73 occurs more often in tumors, the more it penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin. This causes the aggressive cell to detach from the cell structure and ultimately leads to its migration via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. In addition, it had been shown that the same mechanism also exists for colon or prostate cancer. DNp73 is a shortened form of p73, which is closely related to the protein p53, and which actually acts as a so-called tumor suppressor to ensure that the organism is spared cancerous degeneration.
Medications to suppress metastasis formation Thanks to p53 and p73, programmed cell death is usually started when a cell is damaged too badly. "In the course of the tumor development, however, the variant DNp73 arises, which does the exact opposite," says Pützer. DNp73 prevents the formation of another protein, which is responsible for the stability of actin fibers. These ensure the cohesion of the cells in the tissue. The Rostock scientists were also able to develop an antagonist for DNp73, which suppresses the invasiveness of skin cancer cells. This development could be an approach to the manufacture of drugs that suppress metastasis.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer In Germany, black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) has become the most common type of cancer among young people. As the German Cancer Aid recently said, frequent visits to the solarium could be a reason for this. Around 30,000 new diagnoses are expected this year alone. Malignant melanoma is known to spread metastases in the body at an early stage of the disease. The patients do not die directly from skin cancer, but from cancer of other organs, which is caused by the spread of the metastases. Black skin cancer is by far the most dangerous variant of skin cancer and the most common fatal skin disease worldwide. When the metastases begin to spread, around 90 percent of the patients die within five years. (ad)
Image: Andreas Dengs, www.photofreaks.ws / pixelio.de