MicroRNAs are known to inhibit the activity of entire sets of genes associated with cancer metastasis – a process that leads to the majority of cancer-related deaths. The new work explains how the loss of certain microRNAs allows cancer cells to migrate through organ tissue and to grow more rapidly.
The researchers examined human breast cancer cells with strong metastatic ability and found that the cells had lost large numbers of three different microRNA molecules. Conversely, when researchers put those molecules back into human breast cancer tumors in mice, the tumors lost their ability to spread.
In addition, the researchers looked at breast cancer patients and discovered that those with tumors that had lost these molecules were much more likely to suffer from cancer metastasis to the lung and bone.
“The identification of molecules that inhibit a cell’s metastatic potential may help guide clinical decision-making in the future by enabling oncologists to more accurately identify patients at highest risk for metastatic relapse,” said the study’s lead author Sohail Tavazoie, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Oncology-Hematology Fellowship program at MSKCC.
In further analyzing one of these microRNAs, called miR-335, investigators found that miR-335 works by suppressing certain genes that are associated with human metastasis, particularly SOX4, which acts as a transcription factor (meaning that it regulates a group of genes responsible for cell development and migration), and tenascin-C, which functions outside the cell in what is called the extracellular matrix and is implicated in cell migration.
“We now have a better understanding of the role this molecular pathway plays as a suppressor of breast cancer’s ability to spread to the lung and bone, and we have identified the genes involved in that process. These findings may enhance our ability to come up with more effective drugs to prevent or treat cancer metastasis,” said Joan Massagué, PhD, Chair of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at MSKCC, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and the study’s senior author.
Esther Napolitano | EurekAlert!
Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
13.12.2018 | Life Sciences
13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences