Novel Cytodiagnostic Markers for Cancer
Background: Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in women worldwide. Approximately 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and pre-cancerous abnormalities of the cervix occur in far greater numbers of women each year. Cervical carcinomas develop progressively from hyperplastic tissue changes over the course of years or even decades. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the induction and progression of neoplasias to cancer are poorly understood and supports the need to develop cytodiagnostic markers for cervical cancer progression. The promyelocyte protein (PML) has been shown to be overexpressed in tumerous situations associated with increased transcription and cell hyperactivity. It has also been shown that PML is modified by a small polypeptide which triggers targeting of PML to its corresponding nuclear bodies. Technology: Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have used tissues from cervical biopsies to show that PML and its associated nuclear bodies exhibit changes in both size and number throughout the continuum of cervical neoplasia. Differences in the pattern of PML reflect the aggressiveness of the tumor. In addition, PML and loss of the partnership with the specific polypeptide parallels the progression from neoplasias to cervical carcinoma.
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