Targeting ApoE Could Prevent Melanoma Metastasis

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Researchers at Rockefeller University have discovered that targeting the liver-X receptor to increase the expression of ApoE can prevent melanoma cells from metastasizing to the lung and the brain.

Cancer is at its most curable when it’s caught before it spreads. That’s especially true in the case of melanoma, where survival rates can be as high as 97 percent when caught early — and as low as 15 percent if it’s not. New research at Rockefeller has now identified a promising route to slowing or even preventing the metastasis of melanoma cells — something no current therapy can effectively accomplish.

“In order to cure melanoma, you need to prevent metastasis. We have identified a molecular target and a drug that shows promise in accomplishing just that — suppressing the spread of this deadly cancer within the body” says co-first author Nora Pencheva, a researcher in

laboratory and a 2014 recipient of the prestigious



Colin Buss, a former research assistant in Tavazoie’s lab, was also a first author.

Sohail Tavazoie’sHarold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award

That newly identified molecular target is a protein called the liver-X-beta receptor. Although it is named for the organ in which it was first discovered, liver-X-beta is found in the nucleus of cells throughout the body. It belongs to a class of receptors that respond to chemical signals called hormones. Treatments for some reproductive cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate, have homed in on similar nuclear hormone receptors, but liver-X-beta is the first such receptor researchers have targeted in the fight against skin cancer.

Read the press release here:

Source: Rockefeller University