Home Biomedical research U of M researchers discover protein that may be associated with better prognosis for women with ovarian cancer

U of M researchers discover protein that may be associated with better prognosis for women with ovarian cancer


Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that a protein associated with metabolism, and once recognized as a potential therapeutic target for ovarian cancer, may instead be associated with a better prognosis for women with this cancer. .

Posted in Cancer Research Communicationsinvestigators from U of M School of Medicine and the Masonic Cancer Center focused on GLS1, a protein that plays a key role in the metabolism of glutamine, a nutrient used as an energy source in several cancers. Using tumor samples from patients with a specific subtype of ovarian cancer known as clear cell carcinoma, the researchers found that an overabundance of GLS1 was not correlated with a mutation. genetics that occurs in up to 60% of cases of clear cell ovarian cancer, as previously thought. .

“This study provides an example of the usefulness of clinical tumor samples from human patients for confirmation of preliminary results identifying potential drug targets,” said Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D.associate professor at the Masonic Cancer Center School of Medicine and one of the study’s lead authors.

The research is particularly timely because a drug that blocks GLS1 was recently evaluated in a clinical trial for patients with ovarian cancer, and these patients developed resistance to standard chemotherapy. The current study provides evidence that this approach may possibly be detrimental due to the protective effect of GLS1.

Emil Lou, MD, Ph.D., FACP, associate professor at the Masonic Cancer Center School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said: “The expression of any drug target can vary from tumor to tumor. Overall, our finding that GLS1 is protective and associated with better patient outcomes provides reason to pause further thought about therapeutic targeting of GLS1, as knocking it out would block its protective effect and potentially harm patients.

The clinical trial for ovarian cancer patients targeting GLS1 in combination with another drug was terminated in the spring of 2022, and the results of the current study may serve as the basis for further investigation into the real role of this protein in ovarian cancer and why it may be associated at the molecular level with a better prognosis in patients.


About the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota
The Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Twin Cities, designated “Outstanding” by the National Cancer Institute. As the Minnesota Cancer Center, we have served the entire state for over 30 years. Our researchers, educators and healthcare providers have worked to discover the causes, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and cancer-related diseases. Learn more at cancer.umn.edu.

About University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and training the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We recognize that the U of M School of Medicine, both the Twin Cities Campus and the Duluth Campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Dakota and Ojibwe, and dozens of other Indigenous peoples, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relationships with tribal nations. Learn more at med.umn.edu.