Cancer: gene suppresses pancreatic cancer

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Gene suppresses development of pancreatic cancer

According to an international study, the USP9X gene can suppress the development of ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. This new discovery could give the very insidious and common pancreatic cancer better chances of recovery in the future.

Pancreatic cancer has very poor chances of recovery. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common form of cancer of the pancreas, is still a disease with a very poor prognosis and a high death rate. It is difficult to treat because, among other things, the diagnosis is usually made very late. In the early stages of the disease, there are hardly any complaints, so that those affected often seek medical help very late. It is only later that typical symptoms such as abdominal pain, jaundice, loss of appetite, underweight, nausea and vomiting as well as a possible feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen can occur. From a medical point of view, however, treatment success can hardly be achieved. The pain can also have different causes, so that a differentiated diagnosis is necessary. The symptoms often only appear when the cancer has already spread to neighboring organs such as the intestine or stomach. These tumors then lead to the symptoms mentioned. Pancreatic cancer itself usually causes hardly noticeable symptoms. The tumor can only be operated on in about five percent of diagnoses.

Cell death of tumor cells programmed by USP9X The suppressive effect of the gene USP9X on cancer cells gives hope for better chances of recovery in the future. For their research on pancreatic cancer, David Tuveson from the Cambridge Research Institute in Great Britain and his colleagues examined a corresponding mouse model. The researchers discovered the USP9X gene, which has not previously been seen in connection with ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

In the current issue of the international science journal "Nature", the researchers report that the loss of the USP9X gene in the cell cluster of pancreatic cancer protects the tumor cells from programmed cell death. This promotes cancer development. Christian Pilarsky from the Clinic for Visceral, Thorax and vascular surgery at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus coordinated the German scientists, who demonstrated that in people with ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, lower production of USP9X was associated with higher mortality after surgery and an increased risk of metastases USP9X plays an important role in the prognosis of those affected and could open up new treatment options in the future.

Causes of the development of pancreatic cancer Despite many years of research, the exact cause of the development of pancreatic cancer is still largely unknown. Recent scientific studies suggest that the first cell mutations occur 20 years before the actual onset of the disease. It is therefore not surprising, according to British scientists, that the survival rate of the disease has hardly increased in the past 40 years. When diagnosed, pancreatic cancer is usually extremely aggressive. Treatment then rarely brings the desired success.

In addition to a genetic disposition, long-standing smoking, alcohol habit, diabetes, excessive obesity, cystic changes and chemical pollutants are among the most favorable factors for this cancer. Constant irritation, such as a long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas, can trigger degenerations of the body's own cells, similar to other types of cancer of the digestive organs. However, experts now believe that genetic predisposition is the main cause of pancreatic cancer. (ag)

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Image: Sigrid Rossmann /

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Video: Genetics in pancreatic cancer: Implications for clinical practice


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