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This Week in BMC Cancer: Apr 16, 2012

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This week in BMC Cancer, a team of US researchers reports that tetrathiomolybdate, a drug used to treat copper overload disorders, also sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to several anticancer drugs. The researchers explored the combination of TM with several reactive oxygen species-generating drugs like mitomycin C, fenretinide, 5-fluorouracil and doxorubicin in ovarian cancer cells. "TM potentiated doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity and modulated key regulators of apoptosis in SKOV-3 and A2780 ovarian cancer cell lines," the authors write. "These effects were linked to the increased production of ROS, as shown in SKOV-3 cells. ROS scavenging by ascorbic acid blocked the sensitization of cells by TM. TM also sensitized SKOV-3 to mitomycin C, fenretinide, and 5-fluorouracil. The increased cytotoxicity of these drugs in combination with TM was correlated with the activity of ROS, loss of a pro-survival factor and the appearance of a pro-apoptotic marker."

Also this week in BMC Cancer, researchers in Brazil report that an over-expression of HOXA1 in oral squamous cell carcinoma correlates with poor prognosis. The team analyzed HOXA1 expression in healthy oral mucosa and oral carcinoma, and found that transcripts of HOXA1 are more abundant in the cancer samples than in the healthy mucosa samples. "Further analysis demonstrated that overexpression of HOXA1 in HaCAT human epithelial cells promotes proliferation, whereas downregulation of HOXA1 in human OSCC cells decreases it," the team writes. "Enforced HOXA1 expression in HaCAT cells was not capable of modulating other events related to tumorigenesis, including apoptosis, adhesion, invasion, EMT and anchorage-independent growth. A high number of HOXA1-positive cells was significantly associated with T stage, N stage, tumor differentiation and proliferative potential of the tumors, and was predictive of poor survival."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers at Emory University report that the isoflavone genistein can help to induce cell death in prostate cancer cells. The team treated prostate cancer cells with genistein, vorinostat, and combination treatment, and found that "there are a number of pathways that are affected with genistein and vorinostat treatment such as Wnt, TNF, G2/M DNA damage checkpoint, and androgen signaling pathways." Further, the team adds, "genistein cooperates with vorinostat to induce cell death in prostate cancer cell lines with a greater effect on early stage prostate cancer."

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