Thursday, April 3, 2008
A study led by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has uncovered how breast tumors use a particular type of molecule to promote metastasis - the spread of cancer cells. Metastasis is the cause of approximately 90 percent of all cancer-related deaths. The study is published in the April 4, 2008, issue of Cell. [PubMed Abstract]
The work examines how cells in the body communicate with each other through cytokines, signaling molecules that direct a wide range of activities such as cell growth and movement. One important cytokine - transforming growth factor
Using computer-based analysis to classify patient tumor samples based on their levels of TGF
Using mice for their next set of experiments, the researchers discovered that TGF
“Our work shows that TGF
The researchers are now seeking to determine whether TGF
“Deciphering how cancer cells take advantage of these cytokines is essential for developing therapies that can prevent this process,” said the study’s lead author David Padua, a graduate student in Dr. Massagué’s lab. “Because cytokines act outside of cells they can be more easily targeted by drugs that block their activity.”
The study provides support for developing agents to interfere with TGF
This work was co-authored by Xiang H-F. Zhang and Qiongqing Wang of MSKCC’s Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, and William L. Gerald, MD, PhD, a surgical pathologist and member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at MSKCC. Cristina Nadal, PhD, of the Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS and Roger R. Gomis, PhD, of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), both of Barcelona, Spain, also contributed to this research.
The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Kleberg Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, and the BBVA Foundation.