Chaluvally Lab Uncovers Potential Therapeutic Target and Biomarker for Ovarian Cancer and Other Malignancies

Chaluvally Lab Uncovers Potential Therapeutic Target and Biomarker for Ovarian Cancer and Other Malignancies

Research from the Chaluvally Lab identified a protein that targets and amplifies the impact of the cMYC oncogene – a gene either mutated or overexpressed in a significant number of tumor tissues in patients with ovarian cancer. The protein, FXR1, is an RNA-binding protein linked to cancer development and progression and is often highly elevated in patients with ovarian cancer.

Although the cMYC gene aberration is present in nearly half of all cancer patients, it’s been a challenge to use cMYC as a therapeutic target due to its ‘undruggable’ protein structure. The study team, comprised of first author Jasmine George, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow of Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, PhD, uncovered a new mechanism in cancer cells regulated by FXR1 to stabilize cMYC mRNA and promote cMYC protein synthesis. Their findings support the concept that targeting FXR1 could block cMYC activity.

“It holds great potential for suppressing cMYC not only in ovarian cancer but in lung, cervical, and esophageal cancers, which all express high levels of FXR1,” says Chaluvally-Raghavan.

The team’s findings also helped confirm prior studies of oncogenic effects of FXR1, which is crucial for the survival and growth of ovarian cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo.