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Polycomb in the prostate

Gene expression profiling of prostate cancer cells reveals a link between a polycomb group protein and metastasis or poor prognosis.

Jonathan Weitzman(jonathanweitzman@hotmail.com)

Prostate cancer becomes fatal when associated with metastasis. In the October 10 Nature, Sooryanarayana Varambally and colleagues describe a microarray-based analysis of genes whose expression is altered in metastatic prostate cancer (Nature, 419:624-629, October 10, 2002).

Varambally et al. identified 55 genes that were upregulated in metastatic versus localized tumors. They found that the gene encoding the polycomb group protein enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) was significantly upregulated in metastatic cells and correlated with cancer progression. Disruption of EZH2 by RNAi caused growth inhibition and arrest at the G2/M transition. Overexpression of EZH2 in cancer cells caused repression of a subset of gene, that required the EZH2 'SET' domain and endogenous histone deacetylase activity.

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