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Title: The identification and analysis of molecular biomarkers in the p53 tumour suppressor pathway that affect cancer progression in humans
Author: Grawenda, Anna Maria
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The tumour suppressor p53 is at the centre of the signalling pathway that controls cellular processes crucial in tumourogenesis, cancer progression and tumour clearance. Alterations in the p53 pathway that lead to cancer progression can be good candidates for molecular biomarkers that would assist in the identification of patients with different prognoses, but also serve as good predictors of appropriate targeted therapies. Patient cohorts and cancer cell panels are utilised to seek associations with the attenuation of the p53 pathway and cancer progression. Firstly, the alternatively spliced transcript of the p53 inhibitor HDMX, which is frequently found in tumours with poor prognosis, is studied. The high ratio of the alternatively spliced HDMX-S transcript over the full-length HDMX-FL transcript (HDMX-S/FL) is demonstrated to associate with p53 pathway attenuation in cancer cells and breast carcinomas, and with faster metastatic progression of osteosarcoma and breast cancer patients. Secondly, inherited polymorphism in the HDMX gene is investigated and demonstrated as a unique and highly reproducible eQTL, which identifies patients with different prognoses for metastatic disease in breast cancer and melanoma cohorts. Lastly, a screening approach to identify novel inherited polymorphisms in the p53 pathway genes that associate with metastatic progression of melanoma is developed and implemented, and subsequently in silico and in vitro functional analyses are performed to investigate a mechanism behind the FOXO3 SNP, identified as the strongest candidate, whereby the experimental evidence demonstrate that the causal SNP in the FOXO3 haplotype is controlled by the GATA3 transcription factor. Together, the work presented in this thesis provides strong support for the role of the p53 pathway in the metastatic progression of cancer, and suggests that molecular biomarkers that can detect changes in the activity of p53 pathway genes could offer a robust set of biomarkers for cancer progression applicable to different types of cancer.
Supervisor: Bond, Gareth; Goding, Colin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology (medical sciences) ; Epidemiology ; Genetics (medical sciences) ; Oncology ; p53 ; biomarkers ; cancer ; metastasis