Inflammation and Cancer

Leukemia development linked to ribosomal protein L22

April 10, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) The link between inflammation and cancer has been used to advertise everything from fish oil to aspirin, but the science behind it can be murky. Some new research may show the mechanism behind the link.

A group of researchers found the molecular machinery that makes the proteins in inflammatory states that can lead toward leukemia and lymphomas, types of blood cancers.

The study showed that the part of the cell that makes proteins, a part called the ribosome, becomes defective before the cancer develops.

"Ask your doctor about anti-inflammatory therapies."

In research presented at the American Association of Cancer Research's Annual Meeting, scientists from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia believe that the ribosomal protein L22 was mutated or deleted in nine percent of a group of leukemia patients.

This study suggests that its absence may play a role in cancer development. That ribosomal protein has been linked to abnormalities in T cell development, also highlighting the complicated role of the immune system in fighting cancer.

"These findings help explain how mutations in one class of proteins can trigger the development of cancer," says Shuyun Rao, Ph.D., co-author on the study. "If we find a way to block the pathway activated by these mutations, this may cause tumors to regress."

The research was tested in genetic variations of mice. In groups without the L22 gene, lymphomas occurred more often and grew faster.

In human cells where the gene had been deactivated, early stages of lymphoma development were observed in an inflammatory pathway which has been frequently associated with cancer development.

The research concluded that L22 may be involved in other cancers beyond leukemias.

The research was presented at the American Association of Cancer Research's April 2nd meeting. Until subsequent publication in a peer reviewed journal, findings should be considered preliminary.

No financial conflicts of interest were disclosed with the research.