One of the most common cancer-causing genes has continuously stymied researchers’ efforts to develop treatments against it. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have dug deeper and exposed a key interaction that may contribute to why mutations in KRAS lead to cancer.
Nearly a third of all cancers have mutations in the RAS family of genes, including KRAS. In pancreatic cancer, a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat disease, almost every tumor is driven by KRAS mutations. But KRAS has been thought to be “undruggable” – researchers cannot identify an effective therapy against it.
AGO2 plays a role in silencing genes and processing microRNA – so it impacts many genes. The researchers found AGO2 interacted with both mutated and normal KRAS. The link appeared in all 12 of the cell lines tested. The finding suggests potential to explore interrupting the KRAS-AGO2 interaction as a possible therapy. Additional research is needed. The study authors plan next to try to replicate their cell findings in a mouse model to confirm the interaction. They will also begin to map it in 3D to begin to identify opportunities for potential therapies.
New clues to common and elusive KRAS cancer gene