A National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) research team has discovered a key mechanism that affects lung cancer metastasis, which could become a potential biomarker, the institutes said yesterday.
Cancer has been the leading cause of death in Taiwan for 37 years, with lung cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths. A significant majority of such deaths are associated with tumor metastasis.
A team led by NHRI Immunology Research Center director Tan Tse-hua (譚澤華) and assistant research fellow Chuang Huai-chia (莊懷佳) has spent years exploring the mechanism between cancer metastasis and MAP4K3 (also known as GLK), a protein encoded by the MAP4K3 gene.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
The team’s previous studies showed that up to 76 percent of non-small cell lung cancer patients have overexpression of GLK in their bodies, and that overexpression of GLK in human lung cancer is associated with poor prognosis and recurrence, Chuang said.
However, the role of GLK in cancer recurrence was unclear, she said.
Using GLK transgenic mice that were bred with genetically modified lung cancer mice allowed the team to study the effect of GLK on the progression of the disease, and they found that GLK induced lung cancer to metastasize in lymph nodes, the brain and liver, she said.
Transgenic GLK promotes tumor metastasis and cell migration through the scaffold protein IQ motif–containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1), by binding to, phosphorylating and activating IQGAP1, the team found.
Human tissues displayed increased phospho-IQGAP1, which correlated with poor survival, so if the overexpression of GLK is inhibited, lung cancer recurrence and tumor metastasis might be controlled, she added.
Tan said that GLK plays a crucial role in promoting cell migration and cancer metastasis by directly binding to and phosphorylating IQGAP1, so their findings suggest that the GLK–IQGAP1 complex is a potential therapeutic target for cancer recurrence.
GLK knockout (inactivated) mice have a life span about 1.5 times that of average mice, which suggests that GLK inhabitation might also have anti-aging effects, he said.
The study was published as the cover story in last month’s issue of Cancer Research and the team is applying for a patent for the findings of the GLK–IQGAP1 complex study, the NHRI said.
TIGHTENED RULES: Employees in the affected sectors must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1 or provide an exemption certificate, and they must undergo COVID-19 testing People working in sectors supervised by the education, economics, labor, and health and welfare ministries must be fully vaccinated by next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. “Starting from Jan. 1, vaccination rules for workers at industries supervised by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be further enhanced,” said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. New employees and those returning to work must provide a negative COVID-19 test result — an antigen rapid test, at-home rapid
THREAT REMAINS: With cases rising in many parts of the world, the minister urged the public to continue complying with the disease prevention regulations Taiwan can be considered to have achieved “COVID zero” status, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, despite the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reporting 21 imported cases of COVID-19, the highest number of daily imported infections reported this year. Chen, who heads the CECC, said no local infections or deaths were reported, but 21 imported cases were confirmed yesterday. The imported cases are eight men and 13 women who arrived from Belize, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and the US, Chen said. The highest number of daily imported infections last year was 25 cases on March 23, he
NO ENTRY: The refusal to process Lithuanian goods at Chinese ports suggests that they have been ordered to do so by an official entity, a trade group head said The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the governments of other EU member states to jointly respond to Beijing blocking Lithuanian exports from entering China, as “Lithuania is not listed on the [Chinese customs] system as a country.” Lithuanian media Web site 15min.lt yesterday cited a Lithuanian wood exporter as saying that it was not allowed to unload its goods at an unnamed Chinese port. The company said that its Chinese partner cited customs authorities as saying that any merchandise or shipments related to Lithuania would be refused, effective immediately. Lithuanian timber exporter Sprusas confirmed that Lithuanian goods could be loaded
‘RESOLUTELY COMMITTED’: Sparking a crisis in the Taiwan Strait would be in no one’s interest, starting with China, the US secretary of state told a conference US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Reuters Next conference on Friday that Chinese leaders should think carefully about their actions toward Taiwan, warning of “terrible consequences” if China precipitates a crisis across the Taiwan Strait. In an interview, Blinken addressed multiple foreign policy challenges facing the administration of US President Joe Biden, including faltering efforts to repair the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine and the spiraling conflict in Ethiopia. Most acute might be China’s increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan. Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) has said tensions with China are at their worst in