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DYSTROPHIN'S DOUBLE DUTY

Dystrophin is newly identified tumor suppressor

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What does the loss of dystrophin lead to? Well, yeah, dystrophy. And, sometimes, metastatic cancer. That's the conclusion of a paper published in the May 4, 2014, issue of Nature Genetics, which showed that in certain types of cancer, loss of the dystrophin protein appeared to be the last in a series of steps that had tumors turning metastatic. "In these myogenic tumors" – gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), rhabdomyosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma, all of which arise from muscle cells – the work "very convincingly establishes dystrophin as a tumor suppressor," corresponding author Jonathan Fletcher, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, told BioWorld Today.

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