Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Genes Set Scene for Metastasis

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Genes Set Scene for Metastasis

Article excerpt

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 Massagué, 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 tumor's microenvironment, cancer cell entry and exit from the circulation, and cancer stem cell colonization of various organs. …

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