New Markey study shows promise for targeting breast cancer metastasis

October 9, 2018 by Allison Perry, University of Kentucky
A new study conducted by the lab of Markey researcher Ren Xu suggests that targeting a protein known as collagen XIII could be key for suppressing breast cancer metastasis. Credit: University of Kentucky

A new study by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers suggests that targeting a protein known as collagen XIII could be key for suppressing breast cancer metastasis.

Breast cancers begin in the epithelial cells, which are the cells that line organs and tissues in the body. Generally, most will die after detaching from their substrata, known as the extracellular matrix – this type of programmed cell death is called anoikis. However, metastatic are resistant to anoikis, which allows them to circulate the body and begin growing in other organs.

Published in Breast Cancer Research, the Markey study determined the role collagen XIII plays in breast progression. The protein promotes cancer metastasis because it enhances anoikis resistance in cancer cells. The researchers found that the expression of this protein is significantly higher in cancerous human breast tissue compared to that of a normal mammary gland. In mouse models, the team also demonstrated that collagen XIII expression is necessary for .

"Understanding how these cancer cells spread and colonize distant organs is crucial for identifying novel strategies to halt the cancer progression and improve cancer treatment," said Markey researcher Ren Xu, associate professor in the UK College of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences.

Metastasis is the cause of 90 percent of breast cancer-related deaths. Though breast cancer is very treatable in its early stages, once the disease has advanced and spread to other areas of the body, it's considered incurable. Currently, patients may undergo a wide range of therapies designed to shrink tumors, improve symptoms and increase life span with varying success. Developing therapies to target collagen XIII could be a potential new strategy to fight breast cancer metastasis.

Explore further: 3-D Models of Spreading Tumors May Help Fight Cancer

More information: Hui Zhang et al. Membrane associated collagen XIII promotes cancer metastasis and enhances anoikis resistance, Breast Cancer Research (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s13058-018-1030-y

Related Stories

3-D Models of Spreading Tumors May Help Fight Cancer

February 26, 2016
University of Kentucky researchers Ren Xu and Gaofeng Xiong at the Markey Cancer Center and the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences show it is possible to create a three-dimensional (3-D) model system to investigate ...

Researchers identify specific protein that helps breast cancer to spread

January 25, 2018
Researchers from the University's Institute of Translational Medicine have found an explanation for how breast cancer spreads to the lungs, which could potentially hold the key to preventing the progression of the disease.

PUMA pathway is a weak link in breast cancer metastasis

December 11, 2017
Substantial advancements have improved the success of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical treatments for primary breast cancers. However, breast cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body remains ...

Particle shows promise to prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer

May 18, 2018
USC researchers have pinpointed a remedy to prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women. The findings appear today in Nature Communications.

Looking beyond cancer cells to understand what makes breast cancer spread

February 16, 2017
To understand what makes breast cancer spread, researchers are looking at where it lives - not just its original home in the breast but its new home where it settles in other organs. What's happening in that metastatic niche ...

Stopping the spread of breast cancer

June 3, 2014
The primary cause of death from breast cancer is the spread of tumor cells from the breast to other organs in the body. Northwestern Medicine® scientists have discovered a new pathway that can stop breast cancer cells from ...

Recommended for you

Sugar supplement slows tumor growth and can improve cancer treatment

November 21, 2018
Mannose sugar, a nutritional supplement, can both slow tumour growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer.

New mechanism controlling the master cancer regulator uncovered

November 21, 2018
Who regulates the key regulator? The Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences reports online in the journal Science about a newly discovered mechanism by which RAS proteins, central to cancer ...

Researchers stop spread of cancer in mice by blocking specific molecules

November 21, 2018
Melanoma skin cancer tumors grow larger and are more likely to metastasize due to interactions between a pair of molecules, according to experiments in mice and human cells. The results may restore the potential for a type ...

'Druggable' cancer target found in pathway regulating organ size

November 20, 2018
It's known that cancer involves unchecked cell growth and that a biological pathway that regulates organ size, known at the Hippo pathway, is also involved in cancer. It's further known that a major player in this pathway, ...

A study suggests that epigenetic treatments could trigger the development of aggressive tumours

November 20, 2018
A study headed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in the journal Nature Cell Biology examined whether the opening of chromatin (a complex formed by DNA bound to proteins) is the factor ...

Redefining colorectal cancer subtypes

November 20, 2018
There is a long-standing belief that colorectal cancer (CRC), which causes some 50,000 deaths in the United States each year, can be categorized into distinct molecular subtypes. In a paper published recently in the journal Genome ...

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.