Professor Owen Sansom and colleagues from Beaton Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow studied the P-Rex1 gene.
In particular, they looked at the role of the gene in the development of malignant melanoma in mice and human tissue samples. They found that P-Rex-1 expression was elevated in most human melanoma cell lines and tumour tissues.
The researchers concluded that P-Rex1 has an important role in melanoblast migration and cancer progression to metastasis in humans.
P-Rex1 could be a suitable target for chemotherapy, as such treatment unlikely to have unwanted side effects, they said.
Writing online in Nature Communications, they said they believe this is the first study to show that P-Rex1 is involved in the metastasis of melanoma in mice, as well as being present at high levels in human tumours.