Professor Saverio Alberti, from the University of Chieti in Italy, announced in the European Cancer Conference that his team had discovered a new gene, Trop-2, which could be used as a target for more effective anti-tumour therapy in cancer. The Trop-2 gene is expressed in most human cancers.

Over-expression of Trop-2 was observed in between 65% and 90% of the tumour types analysed. This result really stands out in comparison to other key genetic determinants for cancer. Most of the other markers known to date show lower figures and/or only have a higher percentage in a specific type of cancer.

The findings show that Trop-2 is a novel, widespread, stimulator of human cancer growth and a unique marker and causal factor of metastatic cancer. This makes Trop-2 a suitable candidate as a target for novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Trop-2 is a membrane-type protein which contains a cancer-associated antigen in its extracellular domain. One of the conserved extracellular functional domains in Trop-2 are Thyroglobulin Type I repeats which are proposed to be inhibitors of cysteine proteases.

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Source: Science Daily News.