Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The most aggressive forms of breast cancer elude cellular control mechanisms in order to expand

Scientists at IRB Barcelona have provided new data on how certain types of aggressive breast cancer bypass tumour suppression mechanisms.

About 30% of breast cancer patients have tumours that show rapid growth and invasion through the body. A common denominator in all of these cases is the presence of a large number of Her2 proteins in tumour cellular membranes.

Consequently, these aggressive tumours are referred to as HER2+. Scientists working in the Metastasis Laboratory (MetLab) at IRB Barcelona headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis, have described the molecular mechanism that induces HER2+ tumours to ignore the signals that protect cells from excessive growth. The study is published this week in the specialized journal Cancer Research.

Certain external molecules bind to the Her family proteins, thus instructing the cell to divide. However, when cells have multiple copies of the Her2 gene, as is the case of HER2+ patients, they show uncontrolled division and do not respect the signals from their milieu. The prospects for HER2+ patients changed dramatically about ten years ago when the drug Herceptin came onto the market. This agent binds to Her2 to inhibit its proliferative activity, thereby leading to an improved prognosis and greater survival.

LIP disobeys the body¡¯s defense system
When cells detect potential harm, they activate a series of protective responses which often lead to cell death or senescence (no growth). All these mechanisms are systems through which the cell can avoid the irreversible errors that lead them to generate tumours. This explains why tumour cells are removed from the body and replaced by healthy ones. In this context, tumour suppression mechanisms are of particular relevance, among these that induced by the hormone TGF-¦Â and the senescence caused by genes that contribute to the development of malignant cells (OIS).

Through experiments using metastatic cells from patients and animal models, the researchers have discovered that Her2 not only accelerates cell division but also evades these cell arrest systems. Her2 stimulates the production of the protein Lip, which deactivates the mechanisms that prevent cell division mediated by TGF-¦Â and the senescence mediated by OIS, thereby leading to accelerated division. ¡°Lip is the baddie in the film. It affects TGF-¦Â and OIS function, both tumour suppression mechanisms¡±, explains Gomis.

Towards more rational drug administration
One of the problems associated with Herceptin is that after long periods of treatment patients begin to develop drug resistance. This study shows that tumour cells that produce an excess of Lip continue to grow in the presence of the drug. This observation indicates that part of the resistance derives from the increase in Lip shown by these individuals.

"In patients that have an alteration in Her2 plus an increase in Lip, treatment with Herceptin may not be as effective. It should be remembered that this drug acts only against the membrane protein Her2", explains Gomis. These discoveries highlight the need to rationalise drug administration, from patient to patient, and to provide new data for the design of novel pharmaceutical agents against cancer that improve its diagnosis and treatment.

This study has involved the collaboration of Joan Massagu¨¦, Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, assessor to the MetLab at IRB Barcelona, and adjunct director of the same institute, and has been supported by funding from the BBVA Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Reference article:
HER2 Silences Tumor Suppression in Breast Cancer Cells by Switching Expression of C/EBPb Isoforms
Anna Arnal-Estap¨¦, Maria Tarragona, M¨°nica Morales, Marc Guiu, Cristina Nadal, Joan Massagu¨¦ and Roger R. Gomis.

Cancer Research (2010) [DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0869]

Nuria Noriega | 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 >>>