DLX5, a gene crucial for embryonic development, promotes cancer by activating the expression of the known oncogene, MYC, according to researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center. Since the DLX5 gene is inactive in normal adults, it may be an ideal target for future anti-cancer drugs, they reason. Their findings are published in the July 31 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, available online now. Previously the researchers found that a chromosomal inversion - a genetic
misalignment, where part of the chromosome containing the DLX5 gene gets flipped around during cell division - cooperates with another known oncogene, AKT2, to drive cancer in mice. In the current paper, the researchers discover that DLX5 binds to and actively promotes the activity of a gene known as MYC, which evidence has demonstrated is a potent factor in numerous cancers, including lymphoma, lung and pancreatic cancer.