Key Breast Cancer Maker Found
Reported December 09, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A newly identified protein may contribute to the spread of breast cancer, making it a potential maker for metastatic breast cancer.
Until now, early markers of metastatic breast cancer have been hard to find. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University along with collaborators at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have identified a protein, called Menainv, that is present in only invasive cells within a breast tumor.
Cells in which Menainv are present move into surrounding tissue and eventually to blood vessels. The protein is not found in breast cancer cells that don’t move (resident cells). This is the first time that a protein has been discovered that seems to contribute solely to the invasive and metastatic ability of tumor cells.
Most cancer deaths are due to cancer that had spread to other organs. Upon diagnosis, six out of 10 breast cancer patients have cancer that is still in its primary location making the discovery of an early marker for invasive breast cancer of great clinical value.
Researchers also found breast cancer cells harboring Menainv are less likely to be responsive to newer breast cancer treatments that inhibit epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR).
SOURCE: Developmental Cell, published online Dec. 8, 2008