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Bladder Cancer – Scientists demonstrates how a protein helps to spread Cancer

July 17th 2006

Bladder Cancer – Scientists demonstrates how a protein helps to spread Cancer

Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

Scientists from the Jefferson Medical College and Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center believe that they have found a protein called proepithelin that helps aid in the spread of bladder cancer.  The study was first reported in the July 15th issue of Cancer Research.

"The fact that proepithelin doesn't appear to strongly promote cell proliferation, but instead promotes migration and invasion – two crucial steps leading to metastasis – suggests that it could be critical for the passage of a cancer from a noninvasive to an invasive phenotype," said Andrea Morrione, Ph.D., research assistant professor of urology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia.


Proepithelin helps in the development of cancer, it helps aid in cell movement and it also plays a role in the tumor formation.  Higher than normal levels of proepithelin, are often found in people who have breast, ovarian, and renal cancers.  This protein is also found in cases of deadly brain cancer called glioblastomas.

In this study, the scientists demonstrated how 5,637 bladder cancer cells were affected by the presence of proepithelin.  The proepithelin helped increase the migration of the bladder cancer cells.  It also helped to stimulate wound closure and invasion which contributes to the spread of cancer.  The molecular pathway in bladder cancer formation was turned on with proepithelin with a common MAP kinase pathway.


By further researching proepithelin, new tests could be developed to potentially measure if bladder tumors metastasis.  Bladder tumors often reoccur, and are difficult to treat.  Developing a non-invasive test may help predict if tumors are present and may help in early treatment, which would in turn offer better survival rates.

According to the American Cancer Society, there is an estimated 61,420 new cases of bladder cancer in the United States this year.  It is the fifth most common type of cancer in this country.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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