Study Sheds Light on Factors Involved in Brain Tumors

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The transcription factors C/EBPβ and Stat3 appear to work together to trigger and regulate the mesenchymal transformation seen in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), according to research published online Dec. 23 in Nature.

Maria Stella Carro, Ph.D., of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues discuss the process that led them to focus on C/EBPβ and Stat3, which included the use of the Algorithm for the Reconstruction of Accurate Cellular Networks, an approach that explores interactions between transcription factors and targets from large sets of gene expression profiles.

The researchers found that introducing C/EBPβ and Stat3C into mouse neural stem cells led to loss of neuronal differentiation and expression of several mesenchymal genes. In addition, using a group of 62 GBMs, the authors found that tumors positive for both C/EBPβ and Stat3 were associated with worse clinical outcome than single- or double-negative tumors.

"Since expression of C/EBPβ and Stat3 in human glioma is essential to maintain the tumor initiating capacity and the ability to invade the normal brain, the two transcription factors provide important clues for diagnostic and pharmacological intervention. Consistent with this, the combined expression of C/EBPβ and Stat3 is linked to the mesenchymal state of primary GBM and provides an excellent prognostic biomarker for tumor aggressiveness," the authors conclude.

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