Medindia

X

Cellular Mechanism That Speeds Up Breast Cancer Metastasis Discovered

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  January 3, 2014 at 2:59 PM Cancer News   - G J E 4
A new cellular mechanism that speeds up the spread of breast cancer to other body parts and a therapy that blocks that mechanism, has now been discovered by a team of researchers. The research results were published online in the journal Cell Reports on January 2.
 Cellular Mechanism That Speeds Up Breast Cancer Metastasis Discovered
Cellular Mechanism That Speeds Up Breast Cancer Metastasis Discovered
Advertisement

"Genetic mutations do not drive this mechanism," said Alana Welm, PhD, senior author of the study, associate professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences, and an investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute. "Instead, it's improper regulation of when genes turn on and off."

Advertisement
The new discovery focuses on a protein called RON kinase (RON), which signals some areas of tumor cell DNA to become active. Normally, RON operates mostly during embryonic development and is not highly expressed in healthy adults. But in about 50 percent of breast cancer cases, RON becomes re-expressed and reprograms genes responsible for metastasis, making them active.

"If there's an entire program in the tumor cell that's important for metastasis, blocking one small part of that program, for example, the action of a single gene, will probably not be an effective strategy," said Welm. "But if you could find a way to turn off the entire program, you're more likely to have the desired effect. We found that inhibiting RON turns off the entire metastasis program in these tumor cells.

"No one has ever described a specific pathway driving this kind of reprogramming in metastasis, much less a way to therapeutically block it," Welm added. "Also, RON has not previously been known to be involved in reprogramming gene expression." Future work will include investigating the potential of detecting the RON-dependent program in tumor cells as a way to identify patients that are more likely to develop metastases and as a predictor of therapeutic response to drugs that inhibit RON.
Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All