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Discovery of a cell mechanism that reduces effectiveness of breast cancer treatment
Date:10/19/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and CIC bioGUNE discover a complex cell mechanism activated by a protein HOXB9 that becomes an obstacle for radiation effectiveness.

Scientists all over the world continue to focus their research on breast cancer. As a consequence, knowledge of the behaviour of tumour cells is growing, as well as of their interactions with the microenvironment. There are, however, many questions still unanswered.

A new collaborative study carried out by the laboratory of Dr Mara Vivanco, researcher at the Cell Biology and Stem Cells Unit in the Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences, CIC bioGUNE, and the groups led by Dr Zou and Dr Maheswaran in Boston, has provided insight into one of these mysteries: a cell mechanism that explains how a protein - called HOXB9 - helps cancer cells to avoid the attack of treatments such as radiation, and prevents the therapy from having the desired effect on certain types of breast cancer.

The study was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study shows that cells that express higher levels of the HOXB9 transcription factor are more likely to survive the radiation used as breast cancer treatment.

A complex mechanism induced by this protein has been discovered, which manages to activate a whole chain of cell processes in which different proteins - such as ATM kinase, amongst others - intervene, and which make certain cancerous cells more resistant to treatment. Dr Vivanco explains, "when the tumour is exposed to radiation it induces DNA damage a phenomenon that results in formation of double-stranded DNA breaks - leading the cells to respond and try to repair the damage caused in the DNA using another mechanism - called the DNA da
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Contact: Oihane Lakar
o.lakar@elhuyar.com
0034-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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