Monday, November 25, 2019

Female Biased Cancer May Be Affected By Stray Germ Cells

   Mucinous cysts of the pancreas are a rare pancreatic tumor that mainly target women smokers. The sex ratio for this specific cancer is 1:10 to 1:20 which is very strange according to medical onocologist Sana Intidhar Labidi-Galy. To try to figure out what is going on in these tumors Labidi-Galy turned to public available gene expression profiles of 4- to 17-week-old human primordial germ cells. These profiles were compared to the profiles of healthy or cancerous cells of the pancreas.

The data from pancreatic mucinous cysts was exclusively given from women, and when compared was more closely related to the gene expression profiles of primordial germ cells than to those of the healthy or cancerous tissue of the pancreas. Primordial germ cells migrate to the gonads in the first few weeks of embryonic development and eventually become adults’ reproductive eggs or sperm. The researchers suggest that these mucinous cysts develop from germ cells that didn’t migrate all the way to the gonads early in life. This means they possibly stopped in the immature pancreas, and became cancerous later. Peiguo Chu a pathologist does not agree with this theory simply because germ cells will never migrate into the pancreas even though germ-cell tumors may arise from left-over germ cells along the path.

These results do not explain why this cancer is more prominent in women, but is the start to show that the cysts express germ-cell lineage markers. These tests and observations will hopefully lead to more answers in the future regarding this female biased cancer.


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