Study finds new drug target for metastatic breast cancer

Research led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is the first to report that two specific tumor suppressor genes work in concert to inhibit the growth and spread of breast tumor cells to the lungs. The research is published this week online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Working in a mouse model, the LSUHSC research team studied LKB1, an enzyme that functions as a tumor suppressor in the small intestine, and Nischarin, a novel protein that regulates breast cancer cell migration and movement discovered by Dr. Alahari in 2000. Thirty percent of lung adenocarcinomas have an LKB1 gene mutation, and high levels of the LKB1 protein in have been shown to significantly inhibit tumor growth. The LKB1-interacting protein is also structurally similar to Nischarin. The researchers suspected that the two suppressors might relate to each other, and they did in fact discover a functional and biochemical link between them.

The researchers demonstrated that Nischarin and LKB1 regulate breast cancer cell migration, anchorage-independent growth, tumor growth, and metastasis. They also identified a new pathway by which LKB1 suppresses tumor cell movement.

Metastasis, a complex process involving cell growth, , and invasion is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Therefore, it is important to identify the molecular targets that can prevent cancer metastasis.

"The molecular mechanisms of are not clearly understood, and each discovery moves us another step closer to a treatment advance or cure," notes Dr. Alahari.

Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States. The estimates 232,340 new cases of among American women this year, and 2,240 among men in the US, with 39,620 deaths in women and 410 deaths in men.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New protein may suppress breast cancer growth

Sep 14, 2011

Research led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, the Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, has found that a protein discovered by ...

Taking aim at metastatic lung tumors

Jun 14, 2010

A new study uses a sophisticated genomic analysis to unravel some of the complex cellular signals that drive the deadly invasive spread of lung cancer. The research, published by Cell Press in the June issue of the journal ...

Recommended for you

Bone loss drugs may help prevent endometrial cancer

18 minutes ago

A new analysis suggests that women who use bisphosphonates—medications commonly used to treat osteoporosis and other bone conditions—have about half the risk of developing endometrial cancer as women who do not use the ...

Putting the brakes on cancer

Dec 19, 2014

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

User 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.