Identifying the protein associated with Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer ranks as the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with a 12% survival rate after five years of diagnosis.

The spread of secondary tumors significantly contributes to the incidence of acute pancreatic cancer and the increase in mortality rates. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to malignant tumor formation are not well understood.

A study conducted by the University of California, published in the journal “Science Advances,” revealed that abnormal expression of the Engrailed-1 (EN1) protein enhances the development and spread of pancreatic cancer in laboratory settings and in mouse models.

Elevated protein levels are associated with acute pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in human patients, indicating that the protein could be a potential target for pancreatic cancer treatments. The protein, typically not produced in adult pancreatic cells, has been linked to aggressive forms of breast cancer and misdiagnosis in other cancer types.

Inhibiting or increasing protein expression affected the survival and growth of pancreatic cancer cells in laboratory-grown tissues, emphasizing the importance of the protein in pancreatic cancer aggressiveness.

Genetically modified pancreatic cancer cells with increased protein levels exhibited higher rates of cell invasion and migration, key features of ductal adenocarcinoma.

Analysis of patient databases revealed that high protein levels were associated with misdiagnosis in advanced pancreatic cancer patients, indicating its role in cancer aggressiveness.

Researchers aim to translate their findings into clinical applications by exploring ways to target it and continue investigating other non-genetic factors contributing to pancreatic cancer development.

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