Researchers have identified new genetic markers for breast cancer metastasis. In these studies, a multidisciplinary approach was applied to analyse the molecular basis of breast cancer bone metastasis, combining tools to analyse genomic information with animal models and clinical analysis of cancer metastasis.
Candidate genes, including one dependent on EGFR 3 (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor), and a TGFb (Transforming Growth Factor-beta) target gene called Jagged1 were identified.
The study revealed a network of molecular crosstalk between tumour and bone cells using Jagged1 in tumour cells, EGFR in bone cells and TGFb released from damaged bone.
Such pathological tumour-host tissue interactions eventually lead to tumour expansion and bone destructions.
Targeting these pathways can reduce the development of bone metastasis and provide new avenues for managing the progression of the disease to the bones.
"We are excited to have identified new genetic markers for patients at high risk for bone metastasis, which may provide additional potential targets for preventing and treating the disease," said Dr. Yibin Kang of Princeton University.
They studies will be presented this week at the Era of Hope conference, a scientific meeting hosted by the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.