New kidney biomarker may help researchers discover cause of sarcoma

A new biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of kidney cancer may open doors for researchers to unravel the pathogenesis of sarcoma – a lethal kidney cancer, involving more than 20,000 cases in the US each year. Work performed by an international team led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the results of this study may lead to a real breakthrough to the treatment of sarcoma.

Sarcoma is a rare and aggressive cancer that occurs during the peritoneal fluid, or bowel lining, and is nearly always fatal. Symptoms of this cancer include an excess of white blood cells and a process called “lysosomal puncture,” which results in the formation of many small, small blood vessels in the bowel. This results in chronic inflammation — a leading cause of the devastating complications in patients with advanced sarcoma.

The main cause of sarcoma is aggressive metabolic changes in the cell environment. Scientists have long believed that cancer cells acquire muscle damage (motion impairments) by integrating information about their environment into tumors, but UAB and JAX reporter array biopsies of human renal stem cells (RSCs) have revealed skeletal muscle-specific epigenetic changes that result in tumors forming far larger numbers of RSCs.”

Kirsten E. Augustin, PhD, Dean and Young-Hua “Trey” Welsh Chair of the Department of Biochemistry in the College of Science.

Dr. Earthen, a UAB professor of biological chemistry, and his team improved the lifespan of mice using different methods to track age-dependent RSC degeneration.

to a full 10-week lifespan of mice with kidney cancer. This study was published the journal Cell Reports. “By measuring the expression of two proteins that degrade glutamine, we identified CK3A8 as the new master regulator of RSC degeneration in both normal and cancer tissues,” said co-doctoral fellow Roderick Courtney, PhD, co-senior author of the study.