Fight against Squamous Cell Cancer Turned Out Stronger Through Gene Wonder

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Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. Statistics show from the Australia’s Cancer Council that in every 3 Australians, 2 will be affected by skin cancer before reaching their 70th birthday. Squamous Cell Cancer being the top of the list among the types of skin cancer. This type of cancer arises from the skin lining that proliferates and continuously dividing malignant cells. It can develop in a large number of organs and tissues, including the skin, lips, mouth, esophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, lung, vagina, and cervix, among others since it derives from the ectodermal and endodermal skin lining.

The international team of scientists found the gene, called Grhl3, is also virtually absent in SCC that arises in other tissues, including head and neck cancers that often have a poor prognosis. The presence of the said gene signals the cell proliferation to discontinue.  Scientists hope that the treatments and prevention therapies for squamous cell cancer will be given within five years time since at present; these treatments and preventions are also being developed for the benefit of the other forms of cancer. Professor Stephen Jane and Dr Charbel Darido of Monash University’s Department of Medicine at the Alfred Hospital in Prahran, Victoria, Australia, led the team, who write about their findings in the 15 November online issue of Cancer Cell.

In their study, Jane and colleagues discovered that the gene, known as developmental transcription factor Grhl3, a tumor suppressor that also plays a key part in developing skin in the fetus, is absent in adult SCC tumor cells. The underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms of Sqamous Cell Cancer are not yet known at the present and the only effective treatment is still the old one, surgery. Jane expresses to the press that “Virtually every SCC tumor we looked at had almost undetectable levels of this particular gene, so its absence is a very profound driver of these cancers.”

Using lab mice, they showed that stopping the gene also stops the signal that tells skin cells to stop growing. With the aid of the stop signal, the cells will stop to multiply and thus will not to tumor formation.  In their paper they write how they identify “Grhl3 as a potent tumor suppressor of SCC in mice”, and show that “targeting of Grhl3 by a miR-21-dependent proto-oncogenic network underpins SCC in humans”, and that deletion of the gene in adult skin causes “loss of expression of PTEN, a direct GRHL3 target, resulting in aggressive SCC induced by activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling”.”Our data define the GRHL3-PTEN axis as a critical tumor suppressor pathway in SCC,” they conclude. “Finding this driver of cancer in skin and other organs, is a breakthrough that will hopefully pave the way for speedy development of new prevention and treatment strategies”, as Jane explained: “Our research indicates that drugs already in clinical trials for other cancers may actually be effective in treating SCC – they just need to be applied to skin or head and neck cancers.” This only entails that issues that new drugs have to overcome have already been cleared, “so patients could be reaping the benefits of this research in less than five years,” he added. “The molecules that would increase this expression, are very well validated, so there would be few barriers to applying them in clinical trials,” said Jane hoping that in short span of time, ways in preventing this type of skin cancer will be developed, like producing sun-screams with the factor GRHL3NE.




  1. Claire Jarrousse says:

    That’s Great News! It will replace the well-recognized inefficient medication and will give hope for cancer patients…
    Congratulations for all and especially for Dr Darido who led the work and made the breakthrough.

  2. ….is it true… anyone has Dr Darido’s email or addresss…?
    on the edge o glory, the edge
    need it for someone who has cancer.
    Thanks et good luck Dr Darido


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