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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, have discovered that enzymes important in multiple metabolic pathways are depleted in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tumours. They published their findings last week in the journal Cell Metabolism. Their research looked at the function of essential metabolic enzymes in the light of the genetic, protein, and metabolic abnormalities associated with RCC.
“Kidney cancer develops from an extremely complex set of cellular malfunctions,” said Celeste Simon, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology. “That’s why we approached studying its cause from many perspectives.”
Using human tissue, the researchers found that the expression of certain metabolic enzymes is strongly repressed in ccRCC tumours. This can promote RCC tumour growth and reduce the ability of the immune system to attack these tumours.
“Pharmacological approaches to restore the expression of urea cycle enzymes would greatly expand treatment options for ccRCC patients, whose current therapies only benefit a small subset,” Simon said.
Future research aims to test certain drugs to turn on genes for multiple lost enzymes in renal cancer.