Breaking News
January 16, 2019 - Neurons with good housekeeping are protected from Alzheimer’s
January 16, 2019 - Is mindfulness worthy of all the hype?
January 16, 2019 - Physical Activity, Any Type or Amount, Cuts Health Risk from Sitting
January 16, 2019 - New understanding in the evolution of human feet
January 15, 2019 - AHA: New Cholesterol Guidelines Put Ethnicity in the Spotlight
January 15, 2019 - Different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking
January 15, 2019 - Henry Marsh shares insights into neurosurgery and more at Dean’s Lecture Series
January 15, 2019 - Want to Live Longer? For Just 30 Minutes a Day, Do Anything Else But Sit
January 15, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Targets
January 15, 2019 - Plain packaging sparked tobacco price rises, new study finds
January 15, 2019 - Sedentary lifestyles can be unhealthy, physical activity can lower risk
January 15, 2019 - Gut microbiome may help prevent development of cow’s milk allergy
January 15, 2019 - Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals more likely to suffer severe substance use disorders
January 15, 2019 - New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Positive Results of the Pivotal Trial of Cablivi (caplacizumab) for Rare Blood Clotting Disorder
January 15, 2019 - Levels of inflammatory marker (CRP) linked to housing type and tenure
January 15, 2019 - Three gifts I’m glad I gave myself in 2018
January 15, 2019 - Columbia’s Pediatrics Department Names New Vice Chairs, Expands Leadership
January 15, 2019 - US FDA Accepts Regulatory Submissions for Review of Tafamidis to Treat Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy
January 15, 2019 - Staying fit can cut your risk of heart attack by half
January 15, 2019 - Vitamin D supplements are of no gain to those over 70, study shows
January 15, 2019 - Scientists create comprehensive new method to predict breast cancer risk
January 15, 2019 - Research shows connection between social media use and impaired risky decision-making
January 15, 2019 - FDA Approves Expanded Use of Adacel (Tdap) Vaccine for Repeat Vaccination
January 15, 2019 - Treating spinal pain with replacement discs made of ‘engineered living tissue’ moves closer to reality
January 15, 2019 - Providers Walk ‘Fine Line’ Between Informing And Scaring Immigrant Patients
January 15, 2019 - Outcomes Poorer for Medicaid Beneficiaries With STEMI
January 15, 2019 - Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe
January 15, 2019 - A dream of sustainable surgery in Uganda
January 15, 2019 - Study shows how herpes viruses and tumors have learned to manipulate the same ancient RNA
January 15, 2019 - Common Heart, Diabetes Meds May Help Ease Mental Illness
January 15, 2019 - Stress and trauma in earliest years linked to reduced hippocampal volume in adolescence
January 15, 2019 - Scientists identify endogenous activator of sigma-1 receptors in human cells
January 15, 2019 - MAR treatments unlikely to be cause of premature or low birth weight babies
January 15, 2019 - Parental CPTSD increases transmission of trauma to offspring of Tutsi genocide survivors
January 15, 2019 - High-fat diets shown to increase blood pressure
January 15, 2019 - New institute for food safety to be established in Netherlands
January 15, 2019 - Keele University researchers receive £2.4 million grant to help reduce overprescribing of opioids
January 15, 2019 - Synthetic compound reverses mutant p53 aggregate accumulation, study shows
January 15, 2019 - First elder care robot tested in a WSU smart home apartment
January 15, 2019 - Oxford researchers explore relationship between technology use and adolescent mental health
January 15, 2019 - From microbiome research to healthier and sustainable foods
January 15, 2019 - How coaching moms and dads improves infants’ language skills
January 15, 2019 - Precision health approach tapped to identify causes of poverty
January 14, 2019 - DNA origami can accurately measure how antibodies interact with several antigens
January 14, 2019 - Researchers identify multiple new subtypes of most common childhood cancer
January 14, 2019 - Total Fertility Rates Vary by State
January 14, 2019 - Elevated blood lead level in early childhood associated with increased risk of academic problems in school-aged children
January 14, 2019 - Superior technique identified that can block CRISPR gene editing
January 14, 2019 - Turning breast cancer cells into fat cells prevents the formation of metastases
January 14, 2019 - Review examines what influences HIV-positive patients to stay on antiretroviral drugs in Africa
January 14, 2019 - Identifying genetic factors that lead to squamous cell carcinoma
January 14, 2019 - Virtual video visits can replace office visits without compromising quality of care
January 14, 2019 - Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2019
January 14, 2019 - Molecular hallmarks of tumor hypoxia across 19 cancer types discovered
January 14, 2019 - Scientists uncover how protein clumps damage cells in Parkinson’s
January 14, 2019 - Physician-scientist’s “indomitable spirit” prevails over personal adversity
January 14, 2019 - King’s researchers receive £1.25 million to investigate fatal eating disorder
January 14, 2019 - UCR researchers uncover how plants sense temperature
January 14, 2019 - Scientists find link between colitis and colon cancer
January 14, 2019 - New skin patch provides long-acting contraceptive protection
January 14, 2019 - Asparagine synthetase deficiency – Genetics Home Reference
January 14, 2019 - Improved stem cell approach could aid fight against Parkinson’s
January 14, 2019 - New class of sleeping pill preserves ability to wake in response to danger signals
January 14, 2019 - Cancer patients are four times more likely to commit suicide
January 14, 2019 - The human brain works in reverse order to retrieve memories
January 14, 2019 - Simple tips can lead to better food choices
January 14, 2019 - Meth’s Resurgence Spotlights Lack Of Meds To Combat The Addiction
January 14, 2019 - TARA Biosystems and Insilico Medicine collaborate to discover novel therapies for cardiac disease
January 14, 2019 - Early life stress in mice affects their offspring behavior
January 14, 2019 - Depression Tied to Worse Asthma Outcomes in Urban Teens
January 14, 2019 - Santa calorie counting
January 14, 2019 - Opiod prescriptions for pet dogs misused by their masters
January 14, 2019 - People with ASD could be better at recognizing regret and relief in others finds study
January 14, 2019 - Conducting ChIP-Seq with Low Cell Numbers
January 14, 2019 - Study explores support and social networks of family carers of people with dementia
January 14, 2019 - At Risk for an Opioid OD? There’s an App for That
January 14, 2019 - Single national electronic health record will help improve care in Canadian hospitals
January 14, 2019 - Study unearths Britain’s first speech therapists
January 14, 2019 - Study reveals nuances of racial inequalities in breast cancer prevention
January 14, 2019 - Air pollution can raise the risk of miscarriage among women finds study
Researchers investigate why some cancers affect only young women

Researchers investigate why some cancers affect only young women

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Among several forms of pancreatic cancer, one of them affects specifically women, often young. How is this possible, even though the pancreas is an organ with little exposure to sex hormones? This pancreatic cancer, known as “mucinous cyst”, has strange similarities with another mucinous cancer, affecting the ovaries. By conducting large-scale analyses of genomic data, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, in collaboration with colleagues from the United States have provided an answer: both tumors originate from embryonic germ cells. While still undifferentiated, these cells migrate to the reproductive organs. On their way, some can mistakenly stop in other organs, bringing a risk of tumor that may occur 30 years later. By allowing a better classification of these mucinous tumors, this study, to be read in the Journal of Pathology, paves the way for a more appropriate and personalized management aligned with the tumor’s origin.

Mucinous tumors of the ovary and pancreas affect young women – between 30 and 40 years of age. They take the form of a large cyst, a kind of ball filled with liquid. Rare – they account for about 3% of ovarian and pancreatic cancers – they are usually treated by surgery. Taken in time, the cancerous cyst is completely removed. However, in 15% of cases, the cyst breaks before surgery; the cancer cells spread into the peritoneum, giving rise to metastases that are highly resistant to chemotherapy. In such cases, the survival prognosis of patients does not exceed one year.

“Initially, this work was based on clinical observation,” says study leader Dr. Intidhar Labidi-Galy, a researcher at the Translational Research Centre in Onco-haematology at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine and a physician at the HUG. “As a specialist in ovarian cancer, I came across an article detailing the genetic profile of mucinous tumors of the pancreas. To my great surprise, they had the same genetic alterations as mucinous tumors of the ovary, although these two organs have no direct relationship with each other. Dr. Kevin Elias, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA and first author of the paper, identifies the close links between the two tumors: “We found the same genetic mutations, the same types of victims – young women, often smokers – and, even more surprisingly, ovarian tissue in pancreatic cysts.”

A common origin

Why is a non-gynaecological cancer almost exclusively female? What is the link between the ovary and the pancreas? “It is only during embryogenesis that these organs are really close. At the very beginning of pregnancy, the embryo possesses primordial germ cells – in a way, precursors of gametes, oocytes or spermatozoa – which, between 4 and 6 weeks of pregnancy, makes a long migration in the human body. They pass behind the future pancreas and arrive in the outline of the gonads, around the 7th week of pregnancy. Most likely, some of these germ cells stop on the way,” says Dr. Labidi-Galy.

Using public databases, Kevin Elias and Petros Tsantoulis from UNIGE, together with Intidhar Labidi-Galy and co-leader Ronny Drapkin from University of Pennsylvania have developed a transcriptomic profile – which identifies gene expression levels in a tissue – of primordial germ cells at 6, 7, 11, 16 and 17 weeks of pregnancy, as well as of tumoral and healthy ovarian and pancreatic cells.

The researchers then compared these data, on one hand with the pancreas and on the other hand with the ovary, by studying for each of these two organs the profile of healthy tissues, mucinous tumors and other types of tumors. Their results are clear: in both cases, the transcriptomic profile of the mucinous tumor is far away from the supposed tissue of origin (ovary or pancreas), but very close to the primordial germ cells. This proves that these tumors are closer to the primordial germ cells than to the organ in which they developed.

Unexpected stops during migration

These results indicate that a stop in cell migration that occurred accidentally during the embryonic life of these women may, decades later, be expressed as cancer, depending on their other risk factors (e.g. smoking) and where in the body these primordial germ cells have settled. Indeed, while the scientists have examined the pancreas and ovary, similar cases have been reported everywhere on the migration line of germ cells, particularly in the liver or peritoneum.

“Our results will not change the surgical management of these patients, but may lead us to reflect on chemotherapy protocols. These rare tumors are a bit like the orphan diseases of cancers, for which there are no standard treatments. By linking them to other cancers, we hope to identify treatments that would be effective. For each mutation, what is the best treatment? We are here at the heart of personalized oncology: knowing your enemy in every detail makes it easier to fight him,” concludes Dr. Labidi-Galy.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles