New Study Reveals How Lung Cancer Metastasizes
An emerging study that reveals new insights on how lung cancer metastasizes was published in an online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which is conducted by the researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, on Nov. 21.
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The study reveals in their experimental model that a certain protein of the Golgi apparatus, called the Golgi phosphoprotein 3-dependent (GOLPH3), promotes and predicts a shorter duration of survival in lung cancer patients.
What is Golgi Apparatus?
The Golgi apparatus, which is also known as the Golgi body, Golgi complex, or Golgi, is a cellular organelle present in the cells of a eukaryotic organisms but it is also known as the "post-office" of the cell.
Its major function is to modify, sort, and package the macromolecules and help in the transportation of lipids around the cell and the creation of lysosomes. Because of these major functions, researchers concluded that it may offer a new therapeutic approach for preventing metastasis.
What does study shows?
Researchers lead by Dr. Jonathan Kurie used lung adenocarcinoma cell lines isolated from mice and patients to test their study. They found out that epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) depends on a Golgi protein called PAQR11 for successful tumor cell migration and metastasis in lung cancers.
"We concluded that, through PAQR11, tumor cells can hijack a normal Golgi compaction process in order to gain metastatic ability," said Kurie.
This new study shows that certain proteins in the Golgi that control Golgi compaction may actually promote vesicle budding and transport and enhance the tumor cell's ability to metastasize, which highlighted the potential utility of targeting certain cellular processes in the Golgi.
It also shows that Golgi compaction is associated with EMT transition, a process that allows a cell to detach and move away from its place during wound healing and other normal processes and is thought to play a major role in cancer cell migration.
As these cancer cells migrate, Dr. Daniel Ungar, from the University of York's Biology Department, noted that they have the tendency to look like a tent structure.
Additional to the findings is that a protein called Zeb1 was critical to this process and the researchers are trying to look at how to target Zeb1 without damaging healthy cells, in which the protein also exists.
It is good to note that researchers only looked at lung cancer cells and they do not know if the same process occurs in other types of cancer as well.