Scientists at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry say that inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called phospholipase C?1 (PLC?1) may prevent cancer deaths.
The researchers say that this enzyme plays a key role in metastasis, the ability of cancer cells to spread from a primary site to form tumours at distant sites.
They studied the role of PLC?1 in cell invasion and metastasis using different approaches to modulate its expression in highly invasive cancer cell lines.
The team observed that PLC?1 was required for breast cancer cell invasion, and activation of the protein Rac1.
According to the researchers, the functional link between PLC?1 and Rac1 provides insight into processes regulating cell invasion.
"Consistent with these data we detected an increase in PLC1 expression in metastases compared to primary tumours in breast cancer patients. Therefore PLC?1 is critical for metastasis formation, and development and inhibition of this enzyme has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of metastasis dissemination," says Professor Marco Falasca, who led the study.
The study has been published in the journal Cancer Research.