All cancers fall into just two categories. It's the incredible result of new research by Sinai Health scientists, and it could provide a new strategy for treating the more aggressive and non-curable forms of the disease.
In new research published this month on Cancer Cell, scientists of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), part of Sinai Health, divide all cancers into two groups, based on the presence or absence of a protein called YAP.
The study follows the results on the interaction between YAP and tumors obtained in the past years. In this case, by 3 talented Italian researchers of the University of Padua: Francesca Zanconato, Michelangelo Cordenonsi e Stefano Piccolo, in this study.
Does a single protein determine, with its presence or absence, all tumors?
Rod Bremner, senior scientist at LTRI, said he determined that all cancers are present with YAP enabled or disabled. Each of these classifications exhibits different drug sensitivities or resistance. YAP plays an important role in the formation of malignant tumors because it is an important regulator and effector of the so-called "Hippo signaling route ". It is a mechanism that regulates cell proliferation (for better or for worse ...)
"Not only is YAP off or on, but it has opposite pro or anti-cancer effects in both contexts," Bremner says. “Therefore, tumors with YAP turned on need YAP to grow and survive. In contrast, tumors with turned off YAP they stop growing when we turn on YAP.
Tumors "turn off" the protein to resist treatment - The news is potentially excellent, because many of the cancers with turned off YAP are the highly lethal ones. In their new research, Bremner and the other researchers show that some cancers such as prostate and lung cancers can go from a "YAP on" to a "YAP off" state to resist treatment.
Studies in the laboratory
When cancer cells are grown in a Petri dish in the laboratory, they float or stick together. The team of researchers found that YAP is the primary regulator of a cell's buoyancy. All "floating" cells have YAP off and all "sticky" cells have YAP on. As changes in cell adhesion are known to be associated with drug resistance, the finding implies that YAP is at the heart of this switch.
Joel Pearson, co-lead author of the study, says therapies for these cancers could have a profound effect on patient survival.
The simple binary rule that we have discovered can give rise to many strategies for treating types of cancer that fall into the “YAP on” or “YAP off” superclasses. Furthermore, as tumors change states to evade therapy, having ways to treat both states could become a general approach to prevent this cancer from resisting treatment.Joel Pearson