Study identifies potential therapeutic target for incurable, rare type of soft-tissue cancer

Posted on December 27, 2013
UTSW study identifies potential therapeutic target for incurable, rare type of soft-tissue cancer

UT Southwestern’s Dr. Lu Le, left, and graduate student Amish Patel published a study that found by inhibiting a key protein, a rare, incurable type of soft-tissue cancer could be eradicated. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center
A deadly, rare type of soft-tissue cancer may be completely eradicated simply by inhibiting a key protein involved in its growth, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

In the study, published online today in Cell Reports, scientists found that inhibiting the action of a protein called BRD4 caused cancer cells to die in a mouse model of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs).

“This study identifies a potential new therapeutic target to combat MPNST, an incurable type of cancer that is typically fatal,” said Dr. Lu Le, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. “The findings also provide important insight into what causes these tumors to develop.”

MPNSTs are highly aggressive sarcomas that form around nerves. These tumors can develop sporadically, but about half of cases are in patients with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) that affects 1 in 3,500 people. About 10 percent of NF1 patients will develop MPNST, which usually evolves from a benign but often large and disfiguring tumor called a plexiform neurofibroma.

Read more at: MedicalXpress