Scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City have identified the molecular process by which breast cancer cells spread to other tissue during metastasis. A signaling molecule called TGF-beta is one of two new therapeutic targets revealed by the research.
The research team discovered that a signaling relay softened the tissue for an attack by cancer cells, allowing the cancer cells to invade through capillary walls. Ironically, TGF-beta first acts as a tumor suppressor and later assists in metastasis.
"It provides a very nice mechanism for how breast cancer cells specifically get out of the circulation and into the lungs. Nobody knew how they did that before," says Karl Saxe, scientific program director at the American Cancer Society.
- here's the release
- read the article in the Washington Post
A gene for metastasis. Report