Editors' ChoiceMEDICINE

Growth and Survival—The Complete Toolkit

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Sci. Signal.  05 Feb 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 5, pp. ec50
DOI: 10.1126/stke.15ec50

As tumors progress to a more aggressive state, they acquire multiple genetic alterations, some that have little functional impact and others that are essential for the continued growth and survival of the tumor cells. Schlabach et al. and Silva et al. have developed a functional genomics strategy that will allow, at a genome-wide level, systematic identification of genes required for cell growth and survival. Cell lines derived from human mammary and colorectal cancers and normal mammary tissue showed a similar pattern of so-called "essential" genes, with many residing within functional pathways known to be critical for fundamental cellular processes such as cell cycle and translational control. Importantly, however, additional genes were identified as being essential for the growth of specific cell lines. This functional genomics strategy complements the cancer genome sequencing approaches that have shown recent success and could set the stage for high-throughput discovery of cancer drugs.

M. R. Schlabach, J. Luo, N. L. Solimini, G. Hu, Q. Xu, M. Z. Li, Z. Zhao, A. Smogorzewska, M. E. Sowa, X. L. Ang, T. F. Westbrook, A. C. Liang, K. Chang, J. A. Hackett, J. W. Harper, G. J. Hannon, S. J. Elledge, Cancer proliferation gene discovery through functional genomics. Science 319, 620-624 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. M. Silva, K. Marran, J. S. Parker, J. Silva, M. Golding, M. R. Schlabach, S. J. Elledge, G. J. Hannon, K. Chang, Profiling essential genes in human mammary cells by multiplex RNAi screening. Science 319, 617-620 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]