Progeria patients have decreased chances of getting cancer

Progeria (Credit: Scott Mundro/ABC News)

Main Point:

Researchers have reported that a gene (ZMPSTE24) involved in the abnormal growth such as progeria can potentially be used as a novel target for cancer treatment. This shows that the patients of progeria have decreased chances of getting cancer.

Published in:

Nature Communications

Study Further:

Introduction to ZMPSTE24:

ZMPSTE24 (zinc metallopeptidase STE24) is a gene resulting in the formation a metalloproteinase enzyme, i.e. enzyme involved in catalytic mechanism involving metals. Mutation of metalloproteinase enzymes have been found in a number of rare genetic disorders that may result in diabetes, disorders of nervous system and muscules, and progeria – a rare condition of premature aging that begins in childhood or early adult life and leads to death within a few years.

Introduction to Lamin A:

ZMPSTE24 is involved in the processing of prelamin A that can increase the aging of smooth muscle cells. It results in mitotic failure and DNA damage resulting in premature aging. Prelamin A has been found in decreasing the incidence of infiltrating oral carcinomas.

Changes in Lamin A processing can result in the upregulation of p53, disturbance of DNA repair and elevated degradation of cellular components (autophagy).

(For further information you can check references)


In the present study, researchers have reported newly developed mosaic mice that have prelamin A in half of their cells but have the ability of living as long as normal mice. They did their work on these mosaic viruses.

Researchers have reported that silencing of ZMPSTE24 decreases the cancer cell invasiveness in humans.  Researchers have also reported that Prelamin-A has a potential role of protection against cancer. Although this protein does not affect tumor initiation but it can inhibit cancer invasion that has been found in human oral, lung and breast cancer cell lines.

Research suggestions:

You can work and contribute a significant research in establishing the aging–cancer relationship, which has a complex nature. Usually, aging increases the chances of cancer but some mechanisms can slow them down as you have seen from this research.

You can also research on prelamin A and ZMPSTE24 for cancer treatment.

“The role of prelamin A against cancer invasion suggests that ZMPSTE24 metalloproteinase could be an attractive new target for cancer therapy,” Researchers wrote.

Development of mosaic mice has also opened a hope for the treatment of progeria in human beings. You can deduce the research ideas from the researchers’ note, i.e.

“On the other hand, the generation of genetically corrected induced pluripotent stem cells from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome fibroblasts, or the feasibility to perform in vivo genomic editing, creates novel treatment options for these pathologies that need to be further explored.”

“Our results are extremely exciting and offer great potential for the development of new therapies against both cancer and accelerated ageing disorders,” Dr Allan Bradley, author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a statement. “These mouse models are invaluable for understanding the origins of disease and also to inspire new treatments against these debilitating conditions.”


ZMPSTE24 zinc metallopeptidase STE24 [ Homo sapiens (human) ]Gene/NCBI

P02545 (LMNA_HUMAN)UniProt

Protein that accelerates age, brakes cancer – Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Jorge de la Rosa,José M.P. Freije, Rubén Cabanillas,Fernando G. Osorio, et al. (2013). Prelamin A causes progeria through cell-extrinsic mechanisms and prevents cancer invasion Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3268

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."