A gene known to control brain growth and development is heavily involved in promoting clear cell renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Florida are reporting. Their study, published in Cancer Research, reveals that the gene NPTX2, plays an essential role in this cancer type, which is resistant to common chemotherapy and has a five-year overall survival rate of less than 10 percent in patients with metastatic disease.
The study not only shows that NPTX2 is active in kidney cancer, but is the first to reveal that the gene is over-expressed in any human cancer. The researchers are now looking whether NPTX2 may act in other cancers.
“We found that a gene known to play a role in the healthy brain is also the No. 1 gene associated with this most lethal of all urological cancers,” says the study’s senior investigator and molecular biologist John A. Copland, Ph.D.
“We don’t know why NPTX2 is expressed in kidney cancer, but we now know what it is doing and how it contributes to cancer progression,” he says. “We also have very promising ideas about how to attack the NPTX2 protein — which may provide a much-needed new strategy to treat this kidney cancer.
CONCLUSION: People with kidney cancer definitely have brains 🙂