The researchers found a network of 50 different genes associated with low levels of Tristetraprolin (TTP) in breast, lung and colon tumours.

"Identifying this network allows us to set up future research projects focused on understanding how TTP functions as a tumour suppressor with the ultimate goal of developing treatments specific for patients that have low levels of TTP," said Robert Rounbehler, research scientist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, US.

Cancer arises through the increased activity of oncogenes, proteins that drive cancer growth, and the decreased activity of tumour suppressors, proteins that block malignant growth and progression.

Using a detailed catalog of genetic changes in cancer called The Cancer Genome Atlas, scientists compared patients who had low levels of TTP to those with high levels of the protein.

Breast and lung cancer patients with low levels of TTP tended to have more aggressive types of tumours, the researchers noted.Their study was published in the journal of PLoS One.


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