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Novel Biomarker Forces Cells to Eat Themselves

Conquest - Spring 2009

Protein PEA-15

A research team has discovered that a protein known to inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer works in part by forcing cancer cells to eat themselves until they die. The group also found that expression of the protein, known as PEA-15, is an independent indicator of a woman’s prospects for surviving ovarian cancer, says senior author Naoto Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Breast Medical Oncology.

An analysis of ovarian cancer tumors from 395 women showed that those with high expression of PEA-15 had a median survival time of 50.2 months, compared with 33.5 months for women with low levels of the protein in their tumors.

“These findings provide a foundation for developing a PEA-15 targeted approach for ovarian cancer and for clarifying whether this protein is a novel biomarker that can predict patient outcomes," Ueono says.

Reported in the Nov. 15, 2008, Issue of Cancer Research.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center