Researchers find possible genetic keys associated with survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer
Gene sets they discovered play role in intracellular signaling
- Date : 09 Mar 2012
- Topic : Genitourinary cancers
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Florida) and colleagues from 11 other institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom have used two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) - one from the USA and one from the UK - to detect a novel set of genes found to be associated with epithelial ovarian cancer patient survival. The discovery could open the door to new therapies for treating epithelial ovarian cancer.
The study appeared in a recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention published by the American Association for Cancer Research.
Researchers apply for the first time gene set analysis to epithelial ovarian cancer gene databases
The research team applied gene set analysis for the first time to epithelial ovarian cancer gene databases. The gene set analysis mapped 857 genes related to epithelial ovarian cancer that pass signals "downstream" to components in the cell which, in turn, are activated and trigger a change in the state of the cell.
One of the most significant gene sets they analysed was comprised of a set of eight genes involved in macrolide, a class of drugs, "binding" which interact with immune suppressant FK506 and involve intracellular signalling.
Other studies have indicated that the binding protein (FKBP65) was highly expressed in ovarian epithelium. FKBP65 has also been found to be inversely associated with the expression of tumour suppressor gene P53.
Focus on the role and function of specific gene sets
Researchers expect that the results of their gene set analysis can be used to focus on the role and function of these specific gene sets and may ultimately help uncover additional genetic causes of complex traits.
According to study co-author Thomas Sellers, PhD, MPH, Moffitt executive vice president and director of the Moffitt Research Institute, women may vary in their ability to eradicate disease or tolerate treatment, and genetic association studies are needed to identify the genetic bases related to outcome. Until this study, GWAS have not uncovered any outcome-associated genetic traits for epithelial ovarian cancer.
The gene set analysis the researchers used in this study focused specifically on epithelial ovarian cancer survival data in the genome-wide association studies. According to the researchers, gene set analysis helps to systematically narrow the search for relevant genes.
Unfortunately, gene set analysis does not allow determining the gene set's effect on outcome. Gene set analysis does, however, contribute to understanding of the relationship between epithelial ovarian cancer genetic variation and mortality. The results using gene set analysis may lead to the discovery of other possible gene sets and novel genes related to epithelial ovarian cancer that can be followed up in future studies.
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