Gene Inactivation Drives Spread of Melanoma

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A team of UNC researchers have identified a key genetic switch that determines whether melanoma spreads by metastasis. In a paper published today in the journal Cancer Cell, a team from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrates that inactivating a gene called LKB1 (or STK11) causes non-aggressive melanoma cells to become highly metastatic in model tumors from humans and mice. While a role had been known for LKB1 inactivation in lung cancer metastasis, the effects of LKB1 loss on melanoma spread is even more dramatic.

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