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Proteins that Controls Sex-linked Disparities in Cancers Found

Nowadays, a cancer diagnosis notice is more like a "death notice" for many families. Did you know that there is a difference between men and women in the incidence and mortality of various cancers? In...

Nowadays, a cancer diagnosis notice is more like a "death notice" for many families. Did you know that there is a difference between men and women in the incidence and mortality of various cancers? In general, men have about 20% higher cancer incidence and 40% higher mortality than women. The study also found that women had more side effects from chemotherapy and were more likely to develop thyroid cancer. Tracing back to the source, genetic and molecular factors are thought to be responsible for these differences, but the specific mechanisms involved are poorly understood.

 

A study by the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona) in Barcelona, Spain, recently found that the "behind-the-scenes players" responsible for the tumor differences between the sexes. The results were published in the journal Science Advances.

 

"We have identified the likely manipulators responsible for the tumor differences between male and female flies," said Cayetano González, head of the laboratory at the IRB Cell Division in Barcelona.

 

In this work, researchers analyzed brain tumor development in the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila melanogaster has been used in scientific research as a model organism for more than a hundred years, and through them, researchers have discovered many proteins that are closely related to human cancer. In recent decades, various experimental models of human cancer, such as leukemia, neuroblastoma, glioblastoma, and ovarian cancer, have been developed in this animal model.

 

Specifically, the researchers observed that male flies had more aggressive brain tumors and were more likely to develop malignant tumors than females. They also found that protein expression levels were significantly elevated in brain tumor cells of male flies compared to female flies. Notably, these proteins are also present in humans.

 

Among these discovered proteins, the researchers focused on Phf7, which is also present in humans. However, in Drosophila, PHF7 is only present in male Drosophila tumor cells and shows strong invasiveness. When the researchers removed this protein from male flies, the tumors were significantly less invasive and returned to levels similar to female flies.

 

"Our results suggest that proteins responsible for the differences between male and female tumors can be regulated to reduce the malignancy associated with the sex of the affected individuals," explains Kerry Cristina Molnar, a post-doctoral researcher at the IRB in BarcelonaFeature Articles, who led the study.

 

González added: "Understanding the molecular basis of sex-related differences in cancer incidence and development allows us to find specific treatments for men and women."

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