Scientists at the University of Texas MD Cancer Center have identified a molecule that may help control chemotherapy resistance in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer, which accounts for approximately 90% of all ovarian cancers.
The molecule is miR-506, a non-coding micro RNA molecule that is associated with regulating gene expression. When it was added to chemotherapy treatment, the researchers saw “statistically significant improved responses” to the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and olaparib.
The findings will be published online in the July issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The team of researchers was led by Dr Wei Zhang. In a previous study Dr Zhang and his team had found that miR-506 inhibits a process known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is also associated with chemoresistance. This study found that miR-506 also regulates RAD51, a protein involved in DNA repair.
In other words, the molecule suppresses the cancer cells’ ability to repair its own DNA damages caused by chemotherapy. This makes it a very viable clinical marker for chemotherapy treatments for epithelial ovarian cancer.