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Dual role in breast tissue for a protein involved in leukemia
Date:6/12/2009

"two-faced" when it comes to its role in breast tissue. Previous studies had shown that mice born without the gene produce breast cells that are a little less differentiated than they should be, meaning that they are not fully developed enough to participate in milk production. Miermont found that when the animals were exposed to a cancer-causing chemical, they were more likely to develop breast cancer than mice with intact Stat5a genes. At the same time, however, Miermont found that when estrogen receptor was over-expressed, Stat5a collaborated with it to promote growth of a type of precancerous lesion of the breast termed a hyperplastic alveolar nodule.

"Our studies in in vivo mouse models illustrate a dual role for the Stat5a protein in breast tissue. While it can contribute to the growth of one type of precancerous lesion in the breast, this protein also appears to protects mammary cells from carcinogenic exposure," says Miermont.

These findings need to be validated and expanded, Furth says, but she adds that "while Stat5a is obviously a complicated protein that has many functions, the results underscore the need to specifically understand the mechanisms that regulate its different roles in breast cells and how changes in Stat5a activity may affect different types of breast cancer generation."


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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
215-514-9751
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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