Rheb's role in cancer

Aug 14, 2008

Two independent papers in the August 15th issue of G&D identify the Rheb GTPase as a novel oncogene and a promising new chemotherapeutic target.

The first paper, from Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi (BIDMC and Harvard Medical School) and colleagues, demonstrates that the Ras-like small GTPase, Rheb, is directly involved in prostate tumorigenesis.

Through the overexpression of Rheb specifically in prostate tissue of live mice, the researchers were able to show that increased Rheb signaling activity is sufficient to induce low-grade prostate neoplasias. Furthermore, in combination with decreased PTEN activity, Rheb overexpression can stimulate aggressive prostate tumor formation.

"The identification of Rheb as a gene involved in the pathogenesis of cancer opens new avenues for the development of anti-cancer therapies, as Rheb is an inherently 'druggable' target. Indeed, we are already testing such drugs alone, and in combination with other chemotherapeutics in faithful animal models," explains Dr. Pandolfi.

In the accompanying paper, Dr. Hans-Guido Wendel (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) and colleagues present evidence that Rheb can also function as an oncogene in lymphomagenesis.

Using an experimental animal model of human lymphoma, the researchers demonstrated that Rheb overexpression contributes to lymphoma formation. They also pinpointed Rheb overexpression as a naturally occurring genetic mutation in human patient-derived lymphoma tumor samples. In addition, Dr. Wendel and colleagues found that the targeted inhibition of Rheb can effectively counteract tumor progression in lymphomas with this unique genetic signature.

Dr. Wendel emphasizes that "The key clinical implication is that Rheb levels in tumor tissue could indicate patients that will benefit from relatively non-toxic therapies with targeted drugs like rapamyicn or inhibitors of the farnesyltransferase enzyme."

Source: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Explore further: Team identifies source of most cases of invasive bladder cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika

2 hours ago

Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".

Easter morning delivery for space station

2 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Recommended for you

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

14 hours ago

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.