Tracking breast cancer cells on the move

Jun 14, 2012

Breast cancer cells frequently move from their primary site and invade bone, decreasing a patient's chance of survival. This process of metastasis is complex, and factors both within the breast cancer cells and within the new bone environment play a role. In next week's Journal of Biological Chemistry "Paper of the Week," Roger Gomis and colleagues at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Spain investigated how breast cancer cells migrate to bone.

In particular, they examined the role of NOG, a gene important to proper bone development. Previously, NOG was associated with in prostate cancer, but its specific role in breast cancer to bone metastasis remained unknown.

Gomis and colleagues showed that once are on the move NOG enables them to specifically invade the bone and establish a tumor. It does this in two ways. First, NOG escalates bone degeneration by increasing the number of mature osteoclasts (bone cells that break down bone), essentially creating a spot in the bone for the metastatic breast cancer cells to take up residence. Second, NOG keeps the cells in a stem-cell-like state, which enables them to propagate and form a new tumor in the bone environment.

Gomis explains that the reason NOG expression leads to an increased potential for breast cancer to bone metastasis is because it not only affects features inherent to aggressive cancer cells (such as the ability to establish a new tumor) but also influences properties of the bone environment (such as osteoclast degeneration of bone).

Explore further: Cells build 'cupboards' to store metals

More information: "Identification of NOG as a specific breast cancer bone metastasis-supporting gene" by Maria Tarragona, Milica Pavlovic, Anna Arnal-Estapé, Jelena Urosevic, Mònica Morales, Marc Guiu, Evarist Planet, Eva González-Suárez, Roger R. Gomis, www.jbc.org/content/early/2012… 355834.full.pdf+html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Experimental agent reduces breast cancer metastasis to bone

Nov 03, 2009

Researchers have reduced breast cancer metastasis to bone using an experimental agent to inhibit ROCK, a protein that was found to be over-expressed in metastatic breast cancer. In a study in mice, the team of researchers ...

Targeting MMPs to halt advanced metastatic breast cancer

Jul 16, 2009

An upcoming G&D paper reveals how two specific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) proteins contribute to bone metastasis in advanced breast cancer - lending important new insight into the design of clinically useful small molecule ...

Recommended for you

'Global positioning' for molecules

20 hours ago

In everyday life, the global positioning system (GPS) can be employed to reliably determine the momentary location of one en route to the desired destination. Scientists from the Institute of Physical and ...

Cells build 'cupboards' to store metals

Dec 17, 2014

Lawrence Livermore researchers in conjunction with collaborators at University of California (link is external), Los Angeles have found that some cells build intracellular compartments that allow the cell ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.