Overexpression of a gene known as PHIP is associated with the development of distant metastases and worse survival in malignant melanoma, researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This gene’s product is pleckstrin homology domain-interacting protein, which is involved in postnatal growth but also appears to play a role - previously undetermined - in some cancers.
So a team of researchers led by Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD, at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco, explored this in a murine model, where they found that mice with high levels of the protein died much more rapidly than those with low levels. Blocking the gene expression also appeared to inhibit the development of metastases.
They then examined PHIP expression in a large cohort of patients with melanoma, and determined that poor prognostic signs, such as skin ulceration and metastatic growth, correlated with overexpression of the gene. Further experiments suggested that PHIP contributes to the regulation of certain pathways involved in tumor invasion.
“Thus, PHIP may represent a rational therapeutic target against a range of different, lethal solid tumor types,” the researchers wrote.
By MedPage Today Staff