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May 20, 2008

Scientists Uncover Gene-Expression Signature for Prostate Cancer Stem Cells

  • Researchers have identified a specific gene-expression profile for prostate cancer stem cells. It highlights several pathways  that are important in cancer stem cells’ biology, the team reports.

    The investigators compared the gene expression of prostate cancer stem cells to their normal and differentiated counterparts. The findings revealed 581 genes that are differentially expressed in certain prostate cancer cells.

    Genes associated with inflammation, cellular adhesion, and metastasis were prominent in the cancer stem cell expression profile. Specifically, “functional annotation of this signature identified the JAK-STAT pathway and focal adhesion signaling as key processes in the biology of cancer stem cells,” according to the researchers.

    The group also showed that inhibiting the protein NFkB, which is known to promote cell survival, triggered programmed cell death in these cancer stem cells but spared normal stem cells.

    The study was conducted by scientists at the YCR cancer research unit at the University of York and Pro-cure Therapeutics. Results are published in the May 20 issue Genome Biology.


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