Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Genes Set Scene for Metastasis

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Genes Set Scene for Metastasis

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Metastasis (spreading of cancer) is the cause of 90 percent of deaths from cancer, yet little is know about its underlying mechanisms. Biologists at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York identified a set of genes expressed in human breast cancer cells that worked together to remodel the network of blood vessels at the site of the primary tumor. These genes also promote the spread of breast cancer to the lungs.

Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, Joan Massague, Ph.D., Chair of the Center's Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, showed how four genes facilitated the formation of new tumor blood vessels, the release of cancer cells into the bloodstream, and the penetration of tumor cells from the bloodstream into the lung.

The team of researchers knew that tumors have distinct patterns of colonization, each with a distinct biology and clinical evolution. They identified clinically relevant genes that mediated interactions in the rumor's microenvironment, cancer cell entry and exit from the circulation, and cancer stem cell colonization of various organs. Some of these genes served dual functions, providing growth advantages in the primary rumor and in metastasis. Others contributed to aggressive growth in a particular organ.

Analysis of hundreds of primary tumors had resulted in a lung metastasis gene expression signature (LMS) that predicted clinical outcome in patients with estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, the research team found that several LMS genes helped in creating new rumor blood vessels, releasing rumor cells into the circulation, and breaching lung capillaries by circulating tumor cells to seed pulmonary metastasis. These findings revealed how mechanisms of spread might be targeted with specific drug combinations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.