February 24, 2020 12:45 PM

Protein Hinders Immune Response to High-Grade Gliomas

Brain cancer researchers discover an intracellular signaling pathway active in glioma cells that regulates the tumor microenvironment.

Drawing of brain on note paper in blue ink
Image by Stephanie King

Although researchers are learning more about how gliomas form, a prognosis for this most common type of brain cancer is still devastating.

Michigan Medicine’s Pedro Lowenstein, M.D., Ph.D., says there’s a great need for more effective treatments for patients with gliomas.

Lowenstein, Maria Castro, Ph.D., Andrea Comba, Ph.D., and colleagues’ latest study in mouse models, published in Neuro-Oncology, reports their identification of a crucial mechanism through which growth factors obstruct immune responses to gliomas, which in turn increases tumor malignity.

SEE ALSO: Study Uncovers Unexpected Connection Between Gliomas, Neurodegenerative Diseases

“We have now determined that a growth factor signaling pathway, namely the protein kinase Fyn, inhibits anti-tumor immune responses,” says Lowenstein, a professor of neurosurgery and cell and developmental biology at Michigan Medicine. “We have discovered that an intracellular signaling pathway active in glioma cells, regulates the tumor microenvironment.”

The authors are now testing the hypothesis that inhibiting Fyn in glioma cells might make immunotherapy treatment more effective in the future.

Paper cited: “Fyn tyrosine kinase, a downstream target of receptor tyrosine kinases, modulates antiglioma immune responses,” Neuro-Oncology. DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/noaa006