Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Post-pregnancy events promote breast tumor metastasis


Changes in the tissue environment of the breast that occur after pregnancy promote the metastasis of breast tumor cells. The paper by McDaniel et al., “Remodeling of the mammary microenvironment following lactation promotes breast tumor cell metastasis,” appears in the February issue of The American Journal of Pathology and is accompanied by a commentary.

This work also highlights an important shift in thinking about what influences cancers to metastasize: the move from studying specific gene mutations to studying the tumor environment. The focus on the tumor environment, or stroma, has been gaining strength in recent years, as detailed in the commentary by Sonnenschein and Soto.

The human breast undergoes dramatic changes during the course of pregnancy, lactation, and involution (the process by which the milk-producing tissue is reabsorbed and the breast returns to “normal”). These processes require mammary cells to proliferate, differentiate, and finally die, events that are partly driven by changes in the environment surrounding the cells, or extracellular matrix. How these changes affect the outcome of breast cancer is of great interest, especially considering the epidemiological link between breast cancer after pregnancy and poor prognosis.

Under the leadership of Dr. Pepper Schedin, researchers at the AMC Cancer Research Center of University of Colorado Health Science Center compared extracellular matrix from mammary glands of rats exhibiting post-lactation involution to that of virgin rats. They found that the involution matrix contained higher levels of matrix proteases and degraded proteins and generally more matrix proteins than virgin matrix, indicating that involution matrix was undergoing significant structural changes. When immortalized “normal” human breast cells were grown on each type of matrix, only virgin matrix supported formation of mammary duct-like structures, further demonstrating signaling differences inherent to the source of matrix.

In vitro invasion assays established that human breast tumor cells migrated much better through the involution matrix than through virgin matrix. Schedin’s group next performed in vivo experiments to further confirm that post-lactation involution matrix enhances tumor cell migration (i.e. metastasis). Breast tumor cells were mixed with either involution or virgin matrix, and the mixtures were injected into the mammary fat pads of mice. Human tumor cells formed small mammary tumors, regardless of matrix source; however, the involution matrix exerted a more powerful push toward metastasis, with cells spreading to the lung, liver and kidney, expressing higher levels of the human vascular growth factor VEGF and increasing blood vessel development.

These data demonstrate the importance of the changing breast environment in the evolution of breast cancer. Specifically, changes in the extracellular matrix that occur during post-pregnancy involution may actually promote metastasis of breast cancer following pregnancy. The authors further offer that these data may explain why women with breast cancer diagnosed up to 5 years after pregnancy are at greater risk of developing metastases.

Audra Cox | EurekAlert!
Further information:

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: 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...

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...

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

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>