According to a story from Science Daily, researchers have discovered a mechanism that drives the development of renal cell carcinoma. This mechanism could lead to new therapeutic approaches that take advantage of this new information in order to stop the growth of cancer tumors. Renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, carry genetic alterations that facilitate their survival, and now scientists have a better understanding of the mechanism behind these changes.
About Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer, but kidney cancer in general is still considered relatively rare. Renal cell carcinoma appears in passageways within the kidney that carry urine. It is responsible for around 90 percent of kidney cancer cases. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders, prior kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and smoking. This cancer may not display symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage; these symptoms include a mass on the abdomen or flank, bloody urine, flank pain, night sweats, a general feeling of unwellness, weight loss, hypertension, and fever. Treatment often involves surgery and targeted therapies, as chemo and radiation therapy are not very effective in renal cell carcinoma. Five year survival rate is at least 65 percent, but this figure worsens rapidly if the cancer has spread. To learn more about renal cell carcinoma, click here.
ZHX2 Drives Tumor Growth
The genetic change in renal cell carcinoma results in the shutting down of the VHL gene, which is important for suppressing tumors. The loss of this gene allow for a protein called ZHX2 to accumulate in the affected cells. ZHX2 is important for tumor growth because it helps jump start a bunch of genetic signals that allow for the cancer to continue spreading.
A New Therapeutic Approach
The takeaway from this new information is that if it were possible to bring down or eliminate ZHX2 in the cancer cells, then their growth would be stopped in its tracks. A drug that could inhibit this protein could potentially be a valuable tool for knocking out renal cell carcinoma. In basic lab models, eliminating ZHX2 was able to stop cancer from growing.
Hopefully, a new therapy targeting ZHX2 will be in development for treating renal cell carcinoma soon.