New York: Researchers have identified a gene that can act as a tumour suppressor for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer striking mostly older individuals.
The finding could be important for investigating how best to target treatment of the deadly disease.
Expression of the protein-coding gene hnRNP K is significantly reduced in AML patients who carry a specific genetic deletion, the findings showed.
"Our data implicates hnRNP K in the development of blood disorders and suggests it acts as a tumour suppressor," said Sean Post, assistant professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre in the US.
"Both in vivo and in vitro results indicate that hnRNP K achieves this through regulation of key genetic pathways. Our study found that hnRNP K expression must be maintained for proper cellular regulation and to prevent tumour formation," Post said.
Through use of a mouse model and cell lines, Post's team showed that reduced activity of this gene was associated with blood cancer.
The study was published in the journal Cancer Cell.