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ASCOBT 2023: Study Identifies Potential Therapeutic Target in Gallbladder Cancer

By: Julia Fiederlein Cipriano, MS
Posted: Tuesday, August 8, 2023

A study was recently conducted to investigate the role of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in gallbladder cancer and elucidate its underlying molecular mechanisms. The findings, which were presented during the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breakthrough meeting (Abstract 167), suggested this protein may hold promise as a therapeutic target.

“GDF15 is a member of the TGF-β superfamily and has been found to be expressed in various human cancers,” noted Jin Man Kim, PhD, of Chungnam National University, Dajeon, South Korea, and colleagues.

Using a tissue microarray of 57 patients with gallbladder cancer, the investigators examined both the clinicopathologic features of the tumors and the immunohistochemical expression levels of GDF15. A NOZ and OCUG-1–derived, stable cell line characterized by GDF15 overexpression was established for this study. The investigators performed several laboratory analyses to assess cellular behavior and the expression levels of proteins associated with such processes.  

High GDF15 expression appeared to be significantly associated with pathologic T stage (P = .063), differentiation (P = .062), perineal invasion (P = .059), and lymphatic invasion (P = .008); according to the investigators, it has also been linked to poor prognosis. Overexpression of GDF15 was found not only to significantly enhance wound healing, cell migration, invasion, and motility compared with controls but also to regulate the expression of related proteins. The investigators reported that GDF15 enhanced the in vitro migratory, invasive, and motility capacities of NOZ and OCUG-1 cells. In patients with gallbladder cancer, this protein seemed to contribute to poor prognostic and overall survival outcomes.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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