Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
JIB
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING

Breast Cancer Metastasis Depends on Expression of Leader Cell Protein

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 24 Dec 2013
Image: A breast tumor (blue) uses leader cells (green) to invade muscle tissue (red) in a mouse (Photo courtesy of Dr. Kevin Cheung, Cell).
Image: A breast tumor (blue) uses leader cells (green) to invade muscle tissue (red) in a mouse (Photo courtesy of Dr. Kevin Cheung, Cell).
Cell biologists have identified a protein that they regard as a potential drug target in a unique class of breast cancer cells that lead the process of metastasis into surrounding tissues.

Carcinomas typically migrate into normal tissues as a cohesive multicellular unit, a process termed collective invasion. It has been unclear how different subpopulations of cancer cells contributed to this process.

Investigators at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA) developed three-dimensional organoid assays to identify the most invasive cancer cells in primary breast tumors. They reported in the December 12, 2013, online edition of the journal Cell that collective invasion was led by specialized cancer cells (leader cells) that were defined by their expression of basal epithelial genes, such as cytokeratin-14 (K14) and p63. Furthermore, examination of human tumor samples showed that K14-expressing cells led collective invasion in the major human breast cancer subtypes.

To confirm the role of K14 in the invasive process, the investigators used gene therapy techniques to block its expression in some tumor lines. Cancer cells with blocked K14 expression and similar but untreated cancer cells were then implanted into different sites on the same mouse. Examination of the resulting tumors showed that leader cells were present in the K14-expressing tumors and were leading vigorous invasions into normal tissue. In the tumors with blocked K14 expression essentially no invasions occurred.

"Metastasis is what most threatens breast cancer patients, and we have found a way to stop the first part of the process in mice," said senior author Dr. Andrew Ewald, assistant professor of cell biology at Johns Hopkins University. "We are still several years away from being able to use these insights to help patients with breast cancer, but we now know which tumor cells are the most dangerous, and we know some of the proteins they rely on to do their dirty work. Just a few leader cells are sufficient to start the process of metastasis, and they require K14 to lead the invasion."

Related Links:

Johns Hopkins University



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Synthetic ion transporters can induce apoptosis by facilitating chloride anion transport into cells (Photo courtesy of the University of Texas, Austin).

Experimental Drug Kills Cancer Cells by Interfering with Their Ion Transport Mechanism

An experimental anticancer drug induces cells to enter a molecular pathway leading to apoptosis by skewing their ion transport systems to greatly favor the influx of chloride anions. To promote development... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel
Image: Liver cells regenerated in mice treated with a new drug (right) compared with a control group (center) after partial liver removal. Healthy liver cells are shown at left (Photo courtesy of Marshall et al, 2014, the Journal of Experimental Medicine).

New Drug Triggers Liver Regeneration After Surgery

Investigators have revealed that an innovative complement inhibitor decreases complement-mediated liver cell death, and actually stimulates postsurgery liver regrowth in mice. Liver cancer often results... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

Genome-Wide Mutation-Searching Computational Software Designed for Genomic Medicine

Analysis software cross-references a patient’s symptoms with his genome sequence to help physicians in the diagnosis of disease. This software was created by a team of scientists from A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), led by Dr. Pauline Ng. The research findings were published August 3, 2014, in the journal... Read more

Business

view channel

Partnership Established to Decode Bowel Disease

23andMe (Mountain View, CA,USA), a personal genetics company, is collaborating with Pfizer, Inc. (New York, NY, USA), in which the companies will seek to enroll 10,000 people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in a research project designed to explore the genetic factors associated with the onset, progression, severity,... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.