The Science Behind Sarcomas

Sarcoma tyrosine kinase link identified

(RxWiki News) Deep tissue cancers, also known as sarcomas, are not as common as carcinomas and consequently less basic research has been resolved on the causes and medical treatments investigated on sarcomas.

A series of laboratory molecular experiments resulted in narrowing down more than 2,000 possible targets for pharmaceutical treatment of sarcomas.

Scientists conclude that these cancers born from fat or muscle are most likely to share 39 common proteins.

"Ask your oncologist about clinical trials available to you."

Identifying which molecular targets are the most common in sarcomas is the first step on the long road to specialized drug therapies for patients with these cancers.

While the topic of protein messengers may appear quite dry, since so little molecular research has been done on sarcomas, narrowing the targets for pharmaceutical development down represents a significant gain in the field.

"Tyrosine kinases play an important role in controlling the hallmarks of cancer, and they have a proven track record as druggable targets for cancer treatment. Our goal was to produce a 'landscape' of tyrosine phosphorylated proteins and tyrosine kinases prioritized for subsequent functional validation," Eric Haura, MD stated.

"In our study, we identified numerous tyrosine kinases that can be important for cellular signaling in human sarcomas that could drive the natural progression of sarcoma and, therefore, could be targeted by small molecule inhibitors aimed at altering sarcoma progression."

"The answers to this question can help prioritize which potential targets to examine further, including advancement into trials of patients with advanced sarcoma," explained Haura.

"As a first step, we screened sarcoma cell lines against a number of inhibitors selected, all based on the tyrosine kinases we identified, and identified some active drugs."

Researchers have already begun to outline their plans for further pharmaceutical investigation in the 39 proteins these cancers share.

Results were published in the journal Cancer Research on March 29, 2012.

Researchers did not disclose their funding to the public.

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Review Date: 
May 3, 2012
Last Updated:
May 7, 2012