New signaling pathway linked to breast cancer metastasis

Lymph nodes help to fight off infections by producing immune cells and filtering foreign materials from the body, such as bacteria or cancer cells. Thus, one of the first places that cancer cells are found when they leave the primary tumor is in the lymph nodes. The spread of cancer cells to the lymph nodes, lymphatic metastasis, is known to indicate a poor prognosis in many types of cancers; how tumor cells reach the lymph nodes, however, is not well understood.

A new study by Dr. Heide Ford and colleagues at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora reveals a mechanism underlying this process in breast cancer. Using mouse models, their team found that a protein called SIX1 is a critical player in early stage metastasis, especially lymphatic metastasis. Their study showed that SIX1 induced expression of another protein called VEGF-C, which stimulated the formation of new lymphatic vessels within and near the primary tumor and lymphatic invasion. Strongly supporting a role in human breast cancer, they also showed that the expression of both proteins was correlated in human .

Their work has identified the SIX1-VEGF-C pathway as an important signaling pathway involved in breast cancer metastasis, and the targeting of this pathway could lead to new anti-cancer treatments.


Explore further

Evidence strengthens link between NSAIDs and reduced cancer metastasis

More information: SIX1 induces lymphangiogenesis and metastasis via upregulation of VEGF-C in mouse models of breast cancer, Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation
Citation: New signaling pathway linked to breast cancer metastasis (2012, April 2) retrieved 23 September 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-pathway-linked-breast-cancer-metastasis.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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