Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cartilage protein may contribute to the development of breast cancer


Research from Lund University in Sweden shows that the protein COMP, which mainly exists in cartilage, can also be found in breast cancer tumours in patients with a poor prognosis. Studies on mice also showed that COMP contributed to the development and metastasis of the breast cancer.

COMP (Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein) is a protein that so far has mainly been studied in cartilage tissue, where it helps development of a normal structure of the tissue. COMP is also used as an indicator of cartilage damage in joint diseases.

High expression of COMP in breast cancer cells, seen here in brown, is associated with poor clinical prognosis for the patient. Cancer cells expressing COMP become more invasive and change their metabolism, which allows them to survive better and spread to other organs.

Photo: Anna Bloms / Lund University

Through a database search, the research group at Lund University discovered a clue that sparked their interest in studying whether COMP may also be linked to breast cancer.

"We did not expect to find COMP in connection with breast cancer, and we were also surprised by the strong effect it had on the development of breast cancer in mice", says Emelie Englund, Doctor of Medical Science at the Department of Translational Medicine at Lund University.

The results are based on a clinical study of breast tissue from a little more than 600 women with breast cancer. Various amounts of COMP were found in both the tumours and the surrounding tissue, but never in healthy breast tissue. Women with high levels of COMP experienced increased metastasis, less time before a relapse, and increased mortality.

"We saw a clear association between high levels of COMP and a worse breast cancer prognosis. With more research, COMP has the potential of becoming an indicator of aggressive breast cancer, and thereby providing early and valuable information before deciding on an appropriate treatment", says Anna Blom, Professor in Protein Chemistry at Lund University.

Following the clinical study, the research group continued with studies on the molecular mechanisms that may explain the effect COMP has on the breast cancer development. The studies, including one on mice, showed that COMP not only contributed to a more rapid growth of the primary tumour, but also to formation of metastases. COMP made the cancer cells more resistant to natural cell death, as well as affected the cell metabolism, making the breast environment less favourable to healthy cells.

The research group is now initiating advanced studies on COMP and the molecular processes that take place during cell metabolism. They are also conducting studies on other changed cellular processes linked to COMP and tumour formation in the breast. Preliminary discoveries indicate that the protein may be significant in terms of the development of prostate cancer as well.

The results are published in the American journal Oncogene. The research is funded by the Swedish Cancer Society, the Malmö Hospital Foundation for Fighting Against Cancer, the Swedish Research Council and through so-called ALF funding for clinical research, among others.


Publication: "Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) Contributes to the Development and Metastasis of Breast Cancer"

Authors: Emelie Englund (fmr Holmquist), Michael Bartoschek, Bart Reitsma, Laila Jacobsson, Astrid Escudero-Esparza, Akira Orimo, Karin Leandersson, Catharina Hagerling, Anders Aspberg, Petter Storm, Marcin Okroj, Hindrik Mulder, Karin Jirström, Kristian Pietras and Anna M. Blom. Oncogene published online 11 April 2016; doi: 10.1038/onc.2016.98


Facts/Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, with more than 7 000 new cases in Sweden every year. Nowadays patients have a good chance of survival, but the treatment is often associated with major consequences and suffering for the patient, following medication, radiation therapy and surgery.

More information

Anna Blom, Professor in Protein Chemistry, Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University,
Tel: +46 (0)40-33 82 33, 070-415 06 82

Media Contact

Cecilia Schubert


Cecilia Schubert | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Matrix Medicine Metabolism Translational Medicine breast cancer breast tissue tumour

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

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: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

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...

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

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>