The invasiveness of cancers can be influenced by methylation and demethylation, epigenetic processes that alter the gene activity of cells without changing the genetic code. In a new study published online on July 25 in JCI Insight, Orsolya Giricz, Ph.D., and Amit K. Verma, M.B.B.S., analyzed a group of melanomas in which demethylation was coupled with overexpression of the CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R), a protein that influences the activity of immune cells. This combination increased the growth and invasiveness of cancerous cells, especially when mutations involving the BRAF gene were present. Inhibiting the enzyme that activates CSF-1R or decreasing of CSF-1R’s expression slowed the melanomas’ advance. The findings reveal a previously unknown role for CSF-1R and suggest that it may be a good target for future melanoma therapies. Dr. Verma is professor of medicine and of developmental and molecular biology at Einstein and attending physician in oncology at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. Dr. Giricz is an associate in Dr. Verma’s lab at Einstein.
Posted on: Thursday, September 06, 2018