Researchers find more clues to causes of breast cancer

October 27, 2011

Publishing in the current issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry (Vol. 286, No 43), researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have discovered additional mechanisms of "Akt" activation and suggest a component of that activation mechanism – inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit epsilon (IKBKE) – could be targeted as a therapeutic intervention for treating cancer.

Akt, also known as protein kinase B, is one of about 500 protein kinases in the human genome. Kinases are known to regulate the majority of cellular pathways. Akt modifies other proteins chemically and regulates cell proliferation.

"Recent evidence suggests that IKBKE is an oncogenic kinase that participates in malignant transformation and tumor development," said Moffitt senior researcher and lead author Jin Q. Cheng, Ph.D., M.D. "Our study identified Akt as a bona fide substrate of IKBKE and IKBKE direct activation of Akt independent PI3K and revealed a functional link between IKBKE and Akt activation in ."

Cheng's lab studies a variety of genetic alterations and their molecular mechanisms in both ovarian and breast cancer, particularly on their effect on the molecules that are regulated by Akt and the small molecule inhibitors of Akt.

"We found that inhibition of Akt suppresses IKBKE's oncogenic transformation," said Cheng. "This is significant because overexpression of IKBKE and activation of Akt has been observed in more than 50 percent of human cancers. Akt inhibitors targeting PH domain do not have inhibitory effect on IKBKE-induced Akt."

The researchers experimented with a variety of inhibitors currently being used in clinical trials.

The laboratory study utilized breast cancer cell lines from received from patient donors at Moffitt and cell lines received from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University. The work was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant and a grant from the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program.

Explore further: Combination therapies for drug-resistant cancers

Related Stories

Combination therapies for drug-resistant cancers

October 10, 2011
Some cancers can be effectively treated with drugs inhibiting proteins known as receptor tyrosine kinases, but not those cancers caused by mutations in the KRAS gene. A team of researchers led by Jeffrey Engelman, at Massachusetts ...

Recommended for you

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

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.