How brain tumors invade

December 12, 2011

Scientists have pinpointed a protein that allows brains tumors to invade healthy brain tissue, according to work published this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

40% of a common but deadly type of brain tumor -- called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) -- have mutations in a gene that encodes a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). These mutations result in hyper-activation of the protein.

A team led by Frank Furnari of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University of California, San Diego now finds that excessive EGFR signals ramp up expression of a protein called GBP1. Without GBP1, normally invasive GBM cells formed much less infiltrative tumors in the brains of mice.

GBP1 rendered tumors more invasive by triggering the production of MMP1, a protein that chops up the tissue around cells, allowing to make inroads into healthy tissue. Additional work is needed to determine if therapies able to cripple GBP1 can contain GBM and impede its invasion into healthy tissue.

Explore further: Old drugs find new target for treating brain tumor

More information: Li, M., et al. 2011. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20111102

Related Stories

Old drugs find new target for treating brain tumor

November 18, 2011

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, in collaboration with colleagues in Boston and South Korea, say they have identified a novel gene mutation that ...

Glioblastoma multiforme in the Dock

November 14, 2011

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant brain cancer in humans. Patients with GBM have a poor prognosis because it is a highly aggressive form of cancer that is commonly resistant to current therapies. ...

Recommended for you

Study: Enhancing cancer response to radiation

December 2, 2016

OHSU researcher Sudarshan Anand, Ph.D., has a contemporary analogy to describe microRNA: "I sometimes compare MicroRNA to tweets—they're short, transient and constantly changing."

Rare childhood disease linked to major cancer gene

December 1, 2016

A team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island scientist has discovered an important molecular link between a rare childhood genetic disease, Fanconi anemia, and a major cancer gene called PTEN. The discovery improves ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.