December 4, 2013 – Receptor tyrosine kinases are proteins in the body that play a role in the development, growth and progression of various cancers, including mesothelioma. Researchers from the New York University Langone Medical Center recently studied how a specific receptor tyrosine kinase called Ephrin B2 (EPHB2) affects mesothelioma tumors and cell lines.
The researchers examined EPHB2 in 34 malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors. Their findings showed that levels of the protein EPHB2 were significantly elevated in all 34 pleural mesothelioma tumors when compared to normal tissue. In addition, EPHB2 was overexpressed in all of the malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines, but not in any of the benign mesothelioma cells.
With these discoveries, it is believed that if the growth of EPHB2 can be inhibited, it can lead to a sequence of molecular steps occurring within the cell that would trigger a natural destruction of the cancerous mesothelioma cells. In turn, this would decrease or slow the proliferation and metastasis of the abnormal cancer cells.
The researchers also indicated that EPHB2 might play an important role in helping to detect mesothelioma in an earlier stage, as well as being an indicator of prognosis in patients diagnosed with the disease. Based on these initial findings, the investigators suggest further studies of EPHB2 to prove its role as a marker for disease progression and metastasis. The research findings were published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
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