Discovery of protein that fuels breast cancer growth could lead to targeted treatment
(Medical Xpress)—Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered how a key protein fuels breast cancer growth by boosting numbers of cancer stem cells in tumours that have low levels of a protein called claudin, accounting for up to 10 per cent of all breast cancers.
This raises the prospect that treatments currently being developed to inhibit this key protein – called Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-beta) – could be used to treat this group of women, who tend to have poorer survival and for whom there are currently no targeted treatments.
The study is published in Nature Communications today.
Earlier this year the same team, from Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute, published a groundbreaking study showing that breast cancer was not one disease, but ten, each defined by its own unique 'genetic fingerprint'.
In this study they used this knowledge to explore, for the first time, how the network of genes activated by TGF-beta differs among different types of breast cancer.
This revealed that, in cancers with low levels of the protein claudin, TGF-beta activates a specific network of genes that boosts the number of breast cancer stem cells – which promote cancer spread and are associated with poor survival.
TGF-beta does this through the regulation of two other proteins – Smad and SRF – and with the help of a third – NEDD9 – which helps to assemble the three into their active form.
Dr Alejandra Bruna, senior author on the study, said: "For years scientists have been puzzling how TGF-beta can be seen to both fuel and suppress the growth of cancer. And now, thanks to the improved understanding we are building of the different genetic types of breast cancer, we can pinpoint one of the specific pathways that account for these differences."
Study leader Professor Carlos Caldas, added: "Crucially this study highlights the role of TGF-beta in one particular subtype that accounts for up to 10 per cent of all breast cancers. A number of promising treatments are already in early phase trials to target TGF-beta, meaning there is genuine hope of improved treatment options for this group of women in the near future. The next step will be to design the appropriate clinical trials."
Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "This study provides us with important insights into TGF-beta's 'split personality' and how it can both prevent and fuel the growth of cancer cells. Our scientists have been at the forefront of research into the role of growth factors in cancer and it's immensely heartening to see this now paving the way for powerful new treatments with the potential to benefit patients."
More information: Bruna A. et al, TGFβ induces the formation of tumour-initiating cells in claudinlow breast cancer, Nature Communications, 2012, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2039
Journal reference: Nature Communications
Provided by Cancer Research UK
- Study details on-off switch that promotes or suppresses breast cancer Feb 16, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Human Mdm2: A new molecular link to late-stage metastatic breast cancer Dec 02, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers unravel biochemical factor important in tumor metastasis Nov 09, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Beta Blockers could stop breast cancer spreading Sep 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers learn how signaling molecule orchestrates breast cancer's spread Apr 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
Cancer 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
Cancer 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
Cancer 22 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(HealthDay)—Concurrent use of two immune checkpoint antibodies—ipilimumab and nivolumab—may be effective for the treatment of advanced melanoma, according to a proof-of-principal study presented in ...
Cancer May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—The risks of metastasis and death associated with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) are low, but significant, and risk factors for poor outcome include tumor diameter, invasion beyond ...
Cancer May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
21 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
8 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0