Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Salk Researchers Identify Potential Biomarker for Cancer Diagnosis

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, July 12, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Findings of disrupted micronuclei may prove to be a valuable tool for detecting cancer.

Scientists studying cancer development have known about micronuclei for some time. These erratic, small extra nuclei, which contain fragments, or whole chromosomes that were not incorporated into daughter cells after cell division, are associated with specific forms of cancer and are predictive of poorer prognosis.

In a new study, published on July 3, 2013 in Cell, a team of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies finds that disrupted micronuclei, which can trigger massive DNA damage on chromosomes, might play an even more active role in carcinogenesis than previously thought. They also found that disrupted micronuclei can be an objective biomarker for the genetic instability common to many solid tumors, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

"Our study shows that more than 60 percent of micronuclei undergo catastrophic dysfunction in solid tumors such as NSCLC," says Martin Hetzer, a professor in Salk's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and holder of the Jesse and Caryl Phillips Foundation Chair. "We identified disrupted micronuclei in two major subtypes of human non-small cell lung cancer, which suggests that they could be a valuable tool for cancer diagnosis."

As a result of a glitch in cell division, whole chromosomes can sometimes end up outside the nucleus. During normal division, a cell duplicates its chromosomes and sends them to two newly formed daughter cells. One set of chromosomes goes to each daughter cell, but, for a variety of reasons, the chromosomes sometimes are not divided evenly, with one cell receiving an extra set and the other cell coming up short. These lagging chromosomes, which acquire their own nuclear membrane and are called micronuclei, often don't make it to the nucleus, ending up elsewhere within the cell and becoming wrapped in their own nuclear envelope. Micronuclei appear at a higher frequency in cancer cells.

In their study, Hetzer and his team found that during a certain phase of cancer cell division previously undetected defects in the nuclear lamina, filaments that provide support and stability to the cell's nucleus, cause the nuclear envelope surrounding micronuclei to catastrophically collapse, leading to the loss of basic nuclear functions such as replication, transcription, and DNA damage recognition and repair. More than 60 percent of micronuclei undergo this irreversible loss of function following nuclear envelope collapse, precipitating cancer-causing aneuploidy, the accumulation of an abnormal number of intact chromosomes within cancer cells.

"In the micronuclei," says Emily Hatch, a research associate in the Hetzer laboratory, "we saw holes developing in the lamina. We think the membrane has no support at the site of these holes, so it weakens and ruptures. We don't fully understand why this happens in micronuclei."

Previous studies have found that the DNA damage and arrest of gene transcription caused by nuclear envelope collapse can promote aneuploidy. This damaged DNA can then enter the next generation of daughter cells and undergo chromothripsis, a rearrangement of genomic information in one chromosome, which leads to massive DNA damage and the formation of tumors.

In the current study, Hatch identified biomarkers to identify disrupted micronuclei, which may greatly increase pathologists' ability to recognize these structures in tumor sections. Currently, few objective markers exist to detect genomic instability in solid tumors, she says, although several cancers rely on the identification of aneuploidy.

"Our ability to identify disrupted micronuclei in solid tumors suggests a new way to evaluate aneuploidy in these tissues," adds Hetzer, who says that it is not clear if all or how many cancers are affected by disrupted micronuclei. In addition to NSCLC, scientists believe that micronuclei disruption may play a role in bone cancer, melanoma and other forms of lung cancer.

Because they are strongly correlated with mitotic errors, micronuclei are regarded as an accurate indicator of genomic stability and aneuploidy, two hallmarks which characterize non-small cell lung cancer. Hetzer's team found disrupted micronuclei in pulmonary adenocarcinomas, the most common form of primary lung cancer and roughly 50 percent of all NSCLCs, and squamous cell carcinomas, which make up about 30 percent of NSCLCs.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Over Two-Thirds of Cervical Cancer Deaths Prevented
Cervical screening prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths and if all eligible women regularly attended screening this would rise to 83%.
Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns
Researchers tested an alternative way to diagnose bacterial infections in infants—by analyzing RNA biosignatures from a small blood sample.
Mechanisms of Parkinson’s Pathology
Defects that lead to cells’ failure to decommission faulty mitochondria cause nerve cells to die, triggering the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Case for Liquid Biopsies Builds in Advanced Lung Cancer
Study addresses unmet need for better, non-invasive tests called out in recent "Moonshot" blue ribbon panel report
Genetic Misdiagnoses of Heart Condition
Analysis found several genetic variations previously linked with a heart condition were harmless, leading to condition misdiagnosis.
Opening Door to Oesophageal Cancer Targeted Treatments
Scientists have discovered that oesophageal cancer can be classified into three different subtypes.
Genetic Diversity of Enzymes Alters Metabolic Individuality
ToMMo scientists have shown that genetic polymorphisms, structural location of mutation and effect for phenotype correlate with each other.
IMM Uses Nanowizard® to Evaluate Cardiovascular Disease Risk
JPK Instruments reports on the use of their NanoWizard® AFM system at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular at the University of Lisbon.
$1M NIH Grant to Refine PCR Based Cancer Test
Researchers at Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda, recieve a four-year, $1 million grant to hone technology for a quick, in-the-field diagnosis of Kaposi's sarcoma — a cancer frequently related to HIV infections.
Zika Reference Strain Sequenced
An international research team has sequenced a strain of Zika for use as a WHO reference strain.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!