Navigation Links
Penn researchers identify potential target for breast cancer therapy
Date:12/22/2010

PHILADELPHIA Overexpression or hyperactivation of ErbB cell-surface receptors drives the growth of many breast cancers. Drugs, like Herceptin, that block the receptors' signals halt tumor progression in some patients. However, not all patients' tumors respond, with some becoming resistant over time. Different drugs that interfere with other steps in the signaling pathway may improve the response of patients, yet little is known about these molecules.

Now, Marcelo G. Kazanietz, PhD, professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues, report that a protein called P-Rex1 is crucial for signal transmission from ErbB receptors. What's more, they found that P-Rex1 is overexpressed in nearly 60 percent of breast cancer samples tested and patients whose tumors express P-Rex1 were more likely to develop metastasis, compared with those whose tumors did not express P-Rex1.

"We identified a downstream target of the ErbB receptors which seems to be crucial for cancer cell proliferation, migration, and metastasis," Kazanietz says. "Understanding how this pathway works should allow us to find new drugs or therapeutic approaches in the future."

The team's research is featured on the cover of the December 22 issue of Molecular Cell.

A Well-Known Family

The ErbB family of receptors is well known in the cancer world. The family includes the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, also known as ErbB1); ErbB2 (also known as HER2/neu), which is the target of Herceptin; as well as ErbB and ErbB4.

Previous work from Kazanietz and others suggested the receptors might rely on small proteins in the Rac pathway to help transmit their signal. To find out if that was the case, Kazanietz and colleagues examined human breast cancer cell lines and found that one Rac pathway protein, P-Rex1, is overexpressed in numerous cell lines compared with normal mammary cells. The team also found that P-Rex1 is present in some breast tumors, particularly those that express the Her2/neu receptor or estrogen receptor and belong to the luminal subtype.

"We found that about two-thirds of the patient samples had very high levels of P-Rex1 expression in tumor cells in their lymph nodes," Kazanietz says. "There seems to be a correlation between P-Rex1 expression in the tumor cells and the capacity of these cells to metastasize. And since P-Rex1 is likely to be essential for cell migration and migration is essential for metastasis, we believe blocking this pathway could reduce the risk of metastasis."

P-Rex1 may be important for several other cancer-promoting pathways. For example, estrogen-receptor signaling also appears to rely on P-Rex1, which means that targeted inhibitors of P-Rex1 might improve responses to anti-estrogen therapies such as tamoxifen.

The authors also found that P-Rex1 is also used by another receptor, CXCR4, which has recently shown up in many cancer studies. Despite being used in numerous pathways during cancerous growth, P-Rex1 is not expressed in many normal tissues. "That gives us a very good target. It is really cancer specific," Kazanietz says. "What's more, as P-Rex1 is expressed in some subtypes of breast tumors, it may be an excellent prototype for future personalized medicine."

Preclinical data from other groups supports the importance of the Rac pathway in cancer, according to Kazanietz. And small molecule inhibitors that block proteins in the Rac pathway appear to have strong anti-cancer effects in model systems, though their use in patients still needs to be tested.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers Turn White Fat to Energy-Burning Brown Fat in Mice
2. Finnish researchers find a compound that prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells
3. Ben-Gurion U. researchers: High resistance rates among acute otitis media pathogens in children
4. Breast inflammation is key to cancer growth, Kimmel Cancer Center researchers say
5. Researchers discover new signaling pathway linked to inflammatory disease
6. UCI researchers find novel memory-enhancing mechanism in brain
7. Researchers make critical leukemia stem cell discovery
8. U-M researchers discover way to block neurodegeneration in an adult form of Fragile X syndrome
9. Leibniz Prize 2011: 10 researchers awarded €2.5 million ($3.3 million) each
10. Researchers Turn Stem Cells Into Intestinal Tissue in Lab
11. Expert analysis of HER2 tests reveals issues with reliability, Mayo Clinic researchers say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Penn researchers identify potential target for breast cancer therapy
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... ... MEDIA ADVISORY: 5000 PERIOPERATIVE NURSES EXPECTED AT AORN SURGICAL CONFERENCE & EXPO ... in the world with an estimated 5000 perioperative nurses in attendance to ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Steven Tonkinson, 36, of ... completed every year since it started in 2003. This year, he ran all 26.2 ... fellow runners and NBA team the Miami Heat. , This Sunday, while many are ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... The event is being held ... Event Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Triumph Over Parkinson’s will fund nearly $100,000 for research ... Schneiderman’s Furniture, lives with Parkinson’s disease and is the architect of this informative event ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... After years as an active staff surgeon ... and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Wayne Carman transitioned to chief of the Division of Plastic ... first three-year term as chief and began a second three-year term in January of ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... York, New York (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... gym use and find themselves having to wait longer to access the treadmills. It’s ... their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape by joining gyms, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEMD ), the pioneer ... diseases, today announced results for the third quarter ... --> --> "Beyond ... quarterly call, we strategically advanced pre-clinical and clinical ... the Aethlon Hemopurifier® as a leading broad-spectrum countermeasure ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... N.Y. , Feb. 4, 2016  AMRI (NASDAQ:  AMRI) ... President of Pfizer Inc. and President of Pfizer Global Supply, ... as of February 4, 2016. In addition, the Company announced ... of the audit committee since 2010, has retired from the ... and attention to his other business ventures.  ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... PUNE, India , February 4, 2016 ... to the new Market Research Report "North American Automated ... and Fully-Automated External Defibrillators), by End-User (Public Facilities, Hospitals, ... North American automated external defibrillators (AED) report defines and ... of the revenue. This market is estimated to grow ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: