Protein Could Inhibit Growth of Cervical Cancer Cells

Cystatin E/M stops inflammation that cervical cancer cells need to grow.

Researchers in a recent study discovered a protein that showed the ability to prevent the growth of cervical cancer cells in both mouse models and human samples.

The protein, cystatin E/M, stops cellular inflammation that develops after a woman contracts the human papilloma virus from a male sexual partner, which could lead to cervical cancer, according to the study published in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Researchers discovered that cystatin E/M prevents the inflammation that regulates protein NFkB from entering cervical cancer cell nuclei. This results in a decreased inflammation and tumor cell growth.

"When key inhibitory mechanisms break down, cancer cells produce inflammation that helps fuel cancer cell growth," said Eri Srivatsan, PhD. "By identifying this protein, we have discovered a key regulator of this breakdown. This is the first time we have found that inhibition of the protein kinase by cystatin E/M plays a regulatory role in cell inflammation."

The study included 20,000 genes in 2 sets of cell lines, with half expressing the cystatin E/M protein, while the other half did not. Researchers also analyzed 66 samples of normal and cancerous cervical tissue to find the molecular mechanism that stops tumor cell growth, according to the study.

In future studies, researchers hope to show how cystatin E/M can inhibit tumor cell growth in drug-resistant breast cancers.