Malignant nerve peripheral sheath tumors are a form of cancer in the connective tissue surrounding nerve cells that is driven by the loss of the tumor suppressor gene NF1. Researchers at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA recently found that loss of NF1 causes an increase in the expression of a protein known as Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1), a protein that normal cells use to respond to cellular stress.
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Chengkai Dai, Susan Lindquist, and colleagues at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME report that the adaptive responses driven by HSF1 drives the development of cancer and tumor development and is required for cancer cell survival. Additionally, they found that loss of HSF1 suppresses tumor formation in mice and that HSF1 is active in patients with NF1-deficient tumors, indicating that HSF1 may be a target for therapeutic intervention.
Loss of tumor suppressor NF1 activates HSF1 to promote carcinogenesis Chengkai Dai, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, USA
Journal of Clinical Investigation Sept. 4, 2012