Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UW-Madison researchers link protein with breast cancer's spread to the brain

A cancer-research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has identified a protein that may be a major culprit when breast cancer metastasizes to the brain.

Brain metastasis is a terrifying complication of advanced breast cancer, with a grim prognosis and few treatment options. The cancer's spread to the brain is often undetected until patients start to develop symptoms such as seizures, headaches, and trouble thinking. Scientists hope a better understanding of the molecular events that regulate brain metastasis will lead to earlier diagnosis and improved therapies.

Using cell models, the researchers found that breast cancer cells harness a protein called alphaB-crystallin to help them stick to endothelial cells that line the small blood vessels in the brain. In addition, this protein enhances the penetration of breast cancer cells through the blood-brain barrier, which normally prevents cells and many molecules from entering the brain. Once in the brain, the breast cancer cells are able to form metastases.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, and featured on the journal cover, was led by Dr. Vincent Cryns, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a member of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Cryns and his colleagues also developed new mouse models of breast-cancer brain metastasis that mimic many features of the human disease. They found that reducing the expression of alphaB-crystallin in breast cancer cells hindered the cells' ability to form brain metastases in mice.

"These observations in our mouse models suggest that alphaB-crystallin may be a promising drug target that should be explored further," said Cryns. "Although there are no drug inhibitors of this protein currently, we are actively pursuing studies to identify drugs that might reduce the expression of the protein or block its effects," he added.

In addition, by examining tissue from breast-cancer patients who developed brain metastasis, the investigators discovered that women with breast tumors that expressed alphaB-crystallin had a shorter survival than women with breast tumors that did not express this protein. These studies were conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and other institutions.

Furthermore, the team found breast tumors that expressed alphaB-crystallin were more likely to be triple-negative breast cancers—an aggressive type of cancer, which lacks three receptors (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER-2) expressed in other types of breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancers are known to have a high incidence of brain metastasis.

"Our findings suggest that alphaB-crystallin may contribute to the tendency of triple-negative breast cancers to metastasize to the brain and to their poor prognosis," said Cryns. Yet, he cautioned these findings need to be validated in additional studies.

The research was supported by grants from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Susan G. Komen, and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B.

Lisa Brunette | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>