Professor Owen Sansom and colleagues from Beaton Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow studied the P-Rex1 gene. In particular, they looked at its role in the development of malignant melanoma in mice and human tissue samples.
The researchers found that P-Rex1 expression was elevated in most human melanoma cell lines and tumour tissues. They concluded that P-Rex1 has an important role in melanoblast migration and cancer progression to metastasis in humans.
The researchers believe their study is the first to show P-Rex1 is involved in the metastasis of melanoma in mice models, as well as being present at high levels in human tumours. P-Rex1 could be a suitable target for chemotherapy, because such treatment is unlikely to have unwanted side-effects, the researchers believe.
Lindsay CR, Lawn S, Campbell AD et al. Nature Communications Online 2011