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Reuters Health Information (2005-03-17): Genetic program linking cancer to hemostasis identified


Genetic program linking cancer to hemostasis identified

Last Updated: 2005-03-17 15:56:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The MET oncogene, which encodes a growth factor receptor, drives a genetic program that ties cancer to hemostasis, according to a report in the March 17th issue of Nature.

This finding provides "direct genetic evidence for the long-sought-after link between oncogene activation and hemostasis," lead author Dr. Carla Boccaccio and colleagues, from the University of Turin Medical School in Torino, Italy, note.

Nearly 150 years ago, an association between spontaneous coagulation and cancer onset was observed. However, the mechanisms responsible for this relationship have largely eluded researchers.

Dr. Boccaccio's team examined this link using a murine model of sporadic tumorigenesis derived from genetic manipulation of somatic cells. Applying the activated MET oncogene to liver progenitor cells eventually lead to tumors that resembled hepatic carcinoma. Before this occurred, however, a hypercoagulation phase followed by a hemorrhagic phase were observed.

Further analysis showed that the oncogene induced the upregulation of the genes for plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 and COX-2. In vivo testing revealed that altered expression of these genes could produce the thrombohemorrhagic phenotype observed.

The authors note that "pharmacological interference" of the MET pathway uncovered could have implications for the treatment of invasive cancer.

Nature 2005;434:396-400.

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