Surprise Finding Regarding Pancreatic Cancer

Absence of epidermal growth factor receptor blocks pancreatic cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) This is a tad technical, but provides important scientific insight. Scientists have been surprised that the absence of a gene that normally drives cancer growth can also block the growth of pancreatic cancer.

The KRAS gene mutation is involved in the development of a number of cancers including those of the lung and pancreas. Another gene - the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - works with the KRAS gene to drive pancreatic cancers.

But when the KRAS gene is present and the EGFR gene isn't, something surprising happens. Without the EGF receptor, early lesions and pancreatic tumor development are actually blocked.

"When a certain gene isn't present, pancreatic cancer growth is blocked."

Barbara M. Gruener, researcher at the Technical University in Munich, Germany revealed this finding in an animal study. The study was aimed at further defining the role of EGFR in pancreatic cancer.

Researchers did not expect and were surprised that the lack of the EGFR would completely stop the carcinogenic effects of KRAS.

Findings from this study were presented at the Second AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research. It should be noted that research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
September 16, 2011
Last Updated:
September 17, 2011