RNA Editing Gone Awry Could Indicate Gastric Cancer

Proteins involved in RNA editing could potentially be used as biomarkers to detect gastric cancer at an early stage, a study finds.

AsianScientist (Sep. 26, 2016) – Researchers from Singapore have found that changes in ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences may play a major role in the development of gastric cancer. The findings of the study were published in Gastroenterology.

“Currently, most molecular studies on gastric cancer have focused on the alterations in DNA sequences,” said Assistant Professor Polly Chen, who led the research together with Professor Patrick Tan at the National University of Singapore’s Cancer Science Institute.

“Despite recent discoveries that shed light on the cancer-causing role of RNA in cancer progression, the alterations in these RNA sequences and its contribution to the development of gastric cancer have not been well studied.”

The research team conducted a comprehensive analysis demonstrating that changes in RNA sequences, which are caused by the differentially expressed RNA editing enzymes ADAR1 and ADAR2 in gastric tumors, may serve as a novel driving force for gastric cancer. Both ADAR1 and ADAR2 regulate the editing of RNAs: ADAR1 functions as a cancer-promoting gene, while ADAR2 functions as a cancer suppressor.

Specifically, the research team discovered that the proteins could potentially be used as biomarkers to detect disorders leading to gastric cancer. By obtaining patient gastric samples through a simple biopsy, particularly at the premalignant stage, researchers could identify individuals at risk for subsequent gastric cancer development, they say.

The article can be found at: Chen et al. (2016) ADAR-mediated RNA Editing Predicts Progression and Prognosis of Gastric Cancer.


Source: National University of Singapore; Photo: Pixabay.
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