Institute scientists publish review article exploring the role of prostaglandin

Published 7:32 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

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The Hormel Institute’s Tianshun Zhang, PhD, a senior scientist in the Cellular & Molecular Biology research section led by Ann Bode, PhD, served as corresponding author on a review article published in the high-impact journal, Cancer Research.

The article, “Prostaglandin Pathways: Opportunities for Cancer Prevention and Therapy,” discusses the current state of prostaglandin function and cancer.

Prostaglandins are substances made of fats that are found in almost every tissue in the human body. They have hormone-like effects and can affect cancer development and progression. Depending on the prostaglandin and where it is located, they can either encourage or prevent cancer development.

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This review article suggests that targeting prostaglandin pathways could provide opportunities for cancer prevention and therapy.

“Early detection of cancer is critical for a patient’s survival. However, some cancers like esophageal cancer do not have a good marker to identify cancer in its early stage. This means that the cancer is fatal because it is detected too late for effective treatment,” Zhang said.

Zhang recently discovered that a prostaglandin called TXA2 is a very powerful marker for detecting Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.

“We found that aspirin targets TXA2 signaling pathway and prevents Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer in an experimental model,” Zhang said. “Importantly, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, we also found that aspirin use was related to lower levels of TXA2 in patients with Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.”

Dr. Zhang plans to continue to study the function of TXA2 and other prostaglandins signaling pathways in Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.

Review paper is accessible here: