Scientists Identify MicroRNA as Possible Cause of Chemotherapy Resistance
• MicroRNA-31 was implicated in paclitaxel resistance.
• Study conducted in ovarian cancer cell lines.
• MicroRNA regulated gene expression.
DEAD SEA, Jordan — Scientists may have uncovered a mechanism for resistance to paclitaxel in ovarian cancer, microRNA-31, suggesting a possible therapeutic target for overcoming chemotherapy resistance.
Mohamed K. Hassan, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Hokkaido University in Japan, completed the research as a collaborative study with his colleagues when he was a professional assistant in South Valley University in Egypt. Results of this study were presented at the second AACR Dead Sea International Conference on Advances in Cancer Research: From the Laboratory to the Clinic, held March 7-10, 2010.
“MicroRNAs do not code protein, but they regulate other proteins’ expression,” said Hassan. “So identifying any microRNA as responsible for chemoresistance is, in fact, introducing a real reason for the mechanism.”
Ovarian cancer is typically responsive to chemotherapy with paclitaxel, but sometimes cancer cell lines become resistant, which renders chemotherapy useless. Hassan’s research team analyzed a set of microRNAs and identified microRNA-31 as being responsible for this chemoresistance. MicroRNA-31 regulates the protein IFITM-1.
“We need to further verify this observation in clinical ovarian cancer samples and find a way to inhibit this target protein to improve the effect of paclitaxel and prevent the risk of recurrence,” he said.
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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 30,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.