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

07.01.2014
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:
http://www.uwhealth.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'
16.11.2018 | Purdue University

nachricht Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological 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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>