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: Glioblastoma multiforme in the Dock

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

Related Stories

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. ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


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.