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In This Issue

Hedgehog signaling pathway is a potential therapeutic target for gallbladder cancer


Gallbladder cancer is a devastating disease, due in large part to its poor prognosis of 10% survival at 5 years. The poor prognosis speaks to the aggressive and poorly understood nature of its growth and invasiveness. In this research study, Matsushita and colleagues investigated the role of a well-known cancer target, Hedgehog (Hh), and examined its downstream effects in vitro in gallbladder tumor cells compared to normal cells. The researchers established elevated levels of Hh in cancer cells, then went on to trace its pathway. They found that inhibition of Hh ligand deactivates Smoothened (a regulatory protein) through a series of players which then decreased the invasiveness and epithelial–mesenchymal transition of the cancer cells. This study identified a potential pathway to target to reduce the aggressiveness of, and perhaps even treat, this deadly disease.doi: 10.1111/cas.12354

Fluorescence lifetime molecular imaging can detect invisible peritoneal ovarian tumors in bloody ascites


When the intent is cure, the goal of surgery in cancer is to achieve a complete resection of all cancer cells. However, although all gross tumor may be removed through surgery, microscopic cells may be left behind, which may often be the case when micrometastases are present. Sophisticated imaging techniques are being studied for their potential to help identify the presence of micrometastases as well as serve other important functions, such as confirming tissue perfusion. In this exciting work, Nakajima and colleagues offer a significant improvement in standard fluorescence imaging, known as fluorescence lifetime. They cite the presence of bloody ascites as a significant limitation to traditional imaging methods and describe their method of fluorescence lifetime as a way of overcoming this issue. The authors describe a method that could dramatically improve upon this cutting-edge imaging technique to achieve complete resection of cancer cells.doi: 10.1111/cas.12343

MicroRNA-16 inhibits glioma cell growth and invasion through suppression of BCL2 and the nuclear factor-κB1/MMP-9 signaling pathway


Brain gliomas carry a poor prognosis and, although they rank among the most common primary brain tumors, little is understood of what drives their aggressive behavior. In their current work, Yang et al. designed a series of experiments to help elucidate the molecular underpinnings of glial malignancies. They focused on a specific group of molecular targets, microRNAs, which are small non-coding fragments of RNA. Through their in vitro studies, the authors identified an important microRNA, miR-16, that may inhibit the action of molecular regulators of the cell cycle. The presence of miR-16 was inversely correlated with the degree of glial cell malignancy, suggesting that it acts as a tumor suppressor. By identifying a potential factor in the progression of glial cell tumors, this work supports the value of further studies into the potential targeting of miR-16 for therapeutic purposes.doi: 10.1111/cas.12351