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This Week in Cancer Cell: Dec 23, 2011

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Genetic inactivation of both β2-microglobulin and CD58 allows diffuse large B cell lymphoma to evade the immune system, report Columbia University researchers in Cancer Cell. The researchers found that, in 29 percent of cases, the β2-microglobulin gene is inactivated by mutations and deletions — preventing recognition by CD8+ cytotoxic T cells — and, in 21 percent of cases, the CD58 gene is mutated or deleted — affecting immune responses mediated by T and natural killer cells.

A team led by Yale University School of Medicine's Marcus Bosenberg found that Wnt signaling regulates metastasis in Braf-activated Pten-deficient melanoma. Wnt signaling, the authors note, is known to be dysregulated in melanoma. In a mouse model of Braf-activated Pten-deficient melanoma, they altered β-catenin levels, a part of the Wnt pathway, and from this, Bosenberg and his team found that β-catenin mediate metastases to the lymph nodes and lungs.

Finally, Harvard's Matija Snuderl et al. report in Cancer Cell on an example of tumor heterogeneity, which affects tumor growth and progression as well as tumor response to therapy. In glioblastoma, they saw three receptor tyrosine kinases — EGFR, MET, PDGFRA — amplified in different subclones of the tumor. "Each subpopulation was actively dividing, and the genetic changes resulted in protein production, and coexisting subpopulations shared common early genetic mutations indicating their derivation from a single precursor cell," Matija Snuderl et al. say. "The stable coexistence of different clones within the same tumor will have important clinical implications for tumor resistance to targeted therapies."

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.