New genes discovered regulating brain metastases in lung cancer

August 8, 2017, McMaster University
Mohini Singh is a PhD candidate in biochemistry at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University Credit: McMaster University

Research from McMaster University has identified new regulators of brain metastases in patients with lung cancer.

These regulators are the genes called SPOCK1 and TWIST2.

The discovery was made by researchers at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University and was recently published online in the journalActa Neuropathologica.

"Brain metastases are a secondary brain tumour, which means they are caused by cancer cells that escape from primary tumours like lung, breast or melanoma, and travel to the brain," said Mohini Singh, the study's primary author and a PhD candidate in biochemistry at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster.

"We set out to find which genes can regulate the cells that initiate brain metastases, which we've termed brain metastasis initiating cells or BMICs. In other words, what are the genes that are sending the signal to these lung BMICs to leave the lung tumour, go into the blood stream, invade the blood-brain barrier and form a tumour in the brain."

The study used samples from patients with brain metastases. The samples were incubated to enrich for BMICs, then injected into the lungs, hearts and brains of mice. The subsequent development of brain metastases was studied by researchers.

"If you look at a set of , like we did in the paper, who develop brain metastases, they all have those two genes in their primary lung cancer," said Sheila Singh, the study's supervisor, associate professor at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, scientist with the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University and neurosurgeon at McMaster Children's Hospital.

"Patients who don't get don't have these genes in their primary lung cancer."

Brain metastases are the most common tumour in adults and are a leading cause of death in cancer patients.

"If you can identify the genes that cause metastases, then you can determine a predictive model and you can work towards blocking those with possible treatments," said Mohini Singh.

Explore further: Preventing the development of brain tumours

Related Stories

Preventing the development of brain tumours

August 3, 2017
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth's Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence have identified molecules which are responsible for metastatic lung cancer cells binding to blood vessels in the brain.

Mathematical modeling could help with personalized cancer care

July 12, 2017
A new study from the University of Southern California could pave the way for improving personalised lung cancer care and treatment.The research used mathematical modelling to examine if there was a link between the molecular ...

Estimating survival in patients with lung cancer, brain metastases

November 17, 2016
A new article published online by JAMA Oncology updates a tool to estimate survival in patients with lung cancer and brain metastases.

Genetic variants associated with colorectal brain metasases suscptibility and survival

February 1, 2016
Approx. 4,700 people in Austria fall ill with bowel cancer every year. One to two percent of the victims also sustain brain metastases during the latter stages of the illness. In a joint study with the University of Southern ...

Researchers discover how breast cancer spreads to the brain

March 2, 2017
Ninety percent of cancer deaths are from cancer spread. Breast cancer patients, for example, typically do not die because cancer returns in their breast, they die because it spreads to other parts of their body. The most ...

New treatment option for brain metastases associated with lung cancer

March 25, 2013
Lung cancer is the world's most common cause of death from cancer. In Austria, around 4,000 people develop this type of cancer every year. One particular problem is the development of brain metastases in association with ...

Recommended for you

Scientists develop 'world first' melanoma blood test

July 18, 2018
Australian researchers said Wednesday they have developed a blood test for melanoma in its early stages, calling it a "world first" breakthrough that could save many lives.

Early supper associated with lower risk of breast and prostate cancer

July 18, 2018
Having an early supper or leaving an interval of at least two hours before going to bed are both associated with a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer. Specifically, people who take their evening meal before 9 p.m. or ...

Magnetized wire could be used to detect cancer in people, scientists report

July 16, 2018
A magnetic wire used to snag scarce and hard-to-capture tumor cells could prove to be a swift and effective tactic for early cancer detection, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers suggest new treatment for rare inherited cancers

July 16, 2018
Studying two rare inherited cancer syndromes, Yale Cancer Center (YCC) scientists have found the cancers are driven by a breakdown in how cells repair their DNA. The discovery, published today in Nature Genetics, suggests ...

Researchers map 'family trees' of acute myeloid leukemia

July 16, 2018
For the first time, a team of international researchers has mapped the family trees of cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) to understand how this blood cancer responds to a new drug, enasidenib. The work also explains ...

Scientists sharpen the edges of cancer chemotherapy with CRISPR

July 13, 2018
Tackling unsolved problems is a cornerstone of scientific research, propelled by the power and promise of new technologies. Indeed, one of the shiniest tools in the biomedical toolkit these days is the genome editing system ...

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.