Serving over 22 millions NRIs worldwide
Dr. Anil K. Sood

NRI Dr. Sood found- High levels of 2 Enzymes in Ovarian Cancer Cells
that increase Survival

Houston, Dec. 20, 2008
Kulwant Singh

The women who has ovarian cancer, had low levels of either of two enzymes associated with their tumors tended to die much sooner. The two enzymes examined in this study, Dicer (so named because it dices up RNA) and Drosha, are involved in two types of RNA interference.

The report was published in the Dec. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and author Dr. Anil K. Sood, a professor in gynecologic oncology and cancer biology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston said:

  • If there were low levels [of both proteins], those patients tended to survive, on average, 2.66 years compared to those with high levels of both proteins, who survived around 11 years, so there's quite a bit of difference.
  • RNA interference molecules help regulate gene expression. Specifically, they can shut down genes and, as such, may represent an avenue for treatment.
  • Statistical analysis of five risk factors for ovarian cancer showed that only low Dicer levels, high-grade tumors and poor response to chemotherapy are independent predictors of survival. "When we find a new prognostic factor for cancer, we conduct a multivariate analysis to make sure that it's not associated with known factors, such as tumor grade. In this case, low Dicer levels were completely separate from traditional predictive factors
  • So-called "RNA interference therapies" are coming closer to realization
  • That may guide therapy in the future
  • Drosha prepares pre-miRNA in the nucleus so it can be ejected into the cell's cytoplasm, where Dicer chops it into workable pieces of miRNA. Separately in the cytoplasm, Dicer cuts double-stranded RNA into bits of siRNA. Both miRNA and siRNA must go through Dicer to function naturally in the cell. Therapeutic pre-processed siRNA does not require Dicer and can be introduced into the cells as potential treatment.

About 60 percent of cancer cells had low levels of the Dicer gene, about half had low levels of Drosha, and about 39 percent had low levels of both genes, Sood said. Low levels of either or both genes was associated with poorer survival. The information was verified in an additional group of 132 ovarian cancer patients.

Low Dicer levels also strongly predicted worse survival in lung cancer and breast cancer patients; Drosha had less of an association in these cancers.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center


What are the ovaries?
The ovaries are female reproductive organs located in the pelvis. There are two of them - one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone control the development of female body characteristics (i.e., breasts, body shape and body hair) and regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary. There are three types of ovarian tumors, named for the tissue in which they are found:

  • epithelial cell - cells that cover the surface of the ovary. Most of these tumors are benign (noncancerous). However, epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for 85 percent to 90 percent of ovarian cancer cases.
  • germ cell - cells that form the eggs in the ovary.
  • stromal cell - cells that form the ovary and produce female hormones.

Source: University of Virginia

Is Ginger Kills Ovarian Cancer Cells?

Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that ginger not only kills cancer cells, it also prevents them from building up resistance to cancer treatment. Ginger is already used as an effective remedy for nausea and inflammation.

The scientists are presenting their results in a poster session at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.

In this study, scientists applied a solution of ginger powder and water to ovarian cancer cells (similar ginger powder to what is sold at grocery stores, only a standardized research grade). In every single one of their tests they found that the cancer cells died as a result of being in contact with the ginger solution - they either committed suicide (apoptosis) or they digested/attacked themselves (autophagy).

If ginger can cause autophagy as well as apoptosis, it can prevent resistance to chemotherapy - something that is a common development with ovarian cancer patients.

Whether or not this brings the same encouraging results in animal studies remains to be seen, say the researchers.

Another great advantage of ginger is that there are hardly any reports of side effects. It is also an easy product to present in capsule form.

The researchers stressed that this is a preliminary study and further research is needed.

Over 20,000 American women are expected to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. 15,000 women are expected to die from ovarian cancer this year (in the USA).

Click Here for more information on Ovarian Cancer.

This study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today
Copyright: Medical News Today


Anil K. Sood, M.D.
Associate Professor of Gynecologic Oncology
Associate Professor of Cancer Biology

  • B.S., Davidson College, 1986, Pre-Medicine
  • M.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1995
  • Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, University of Iowa, 1998