Scientists have pinpointed a possible reason why pancreatic cancer is such an aggressive disease. Pancreatic cancer cells overexpress gelsolin family-capping proteins, which contribute to their cell motility.
A University of Liverpool team found a family of proteins involved in controlling cell movement could be key. They researched to report that CapG and a related protein, gelsolin, which have established roles in cell motility, are overexpressed in metastatic pancreatic cancer; and to describe their pattern of expression in pancreatic cancer tissue and their effect on cell motility in pancreatic cancer cell lines.
The study, which appears in the journal Gut, could offer a new lead on a disease which is hard to treat.
The Liverpool team were able to track the proteins, called CapG and Gelsolin, in tissue samples from normal and cancerous cells. They found abnormally high concentrations of both proteins in the tumour tissue. As both CapG and Gelsolin are known to have roles in regulating cell movement, the study suggests they may facilitate the spread of pancreatic cancer cells to other areas of the body
Researchers concluded “Up regulation of these actin-capping proteins in pancreatic cancer and their ability to modulate cell motility in vitro suggest their potentially important role in pancreatic cancer cell motility and consequently dissemination”.