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Peptide delivers 1-2 punch to breast cancer in pre-clinical study
Date:1/3/2011

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) have discovered what may become a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. For the first time, a peptide found in blood and tissue has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast tumors in mice, according to a study recently published in the journal Cancer Research.

Patricia E. Gallagher, Ph.D., and E. Ann Tallant, Ph.D., scientists in the Hypertension and Vascular Research Center at WFUBMC, demonstrated that the peptide angiotensin-(1-7) attacked breast cancer in two ways: by inhibiting the growth of the breast cancer cells themselves and by inhibiting the growth of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), cells found in the tumor microenvironment -- the tissue surrounding the tumor. CAFs play a vital role in tumor initiation, growth and metastases by providing structural support for the tumor cells and by producing growth factors that help the tumor cells grow.

In this study, mice were injected with human breast cancer cells to form the two most common types of breast tumors -- estrogen-receptor and HER2 sensitive. In women with breast cancer, an estimated 50 to 60 percent have estrogen-receptor sensitive tumors and 20 to 30 percent have HER2 sensitive tumors.

Once the tumors grew, the mice were injected with either angiotensin-(1-7) or saline for 18 days. In the mice treated with angiotensin-(1-7), there was a 40 percent reduction in tumor size as compared to the saline-injected mice, whose tumors grew three times their size at the initiation of treatment. Breast tumor fibrosis also was reduced by 64 to 75 percent in the mice treated with the peptide as compared to the saline-injected mice. Fibrosis is the thickening of the breast tissue around and within the tumor that acts as a scaffold to support the spread of cancer cells.

"This is the first study to show that angiotensin-(1-7) not only inhibits the growth o
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Contact: Bonnie Davis
bdavis@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4977
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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