MicroRNA drives breast cancer metastasis by promoting cancer cell survival

Posted By News On December 29, 2012 - 6:31pm

Tumor metastasis, which accounts for the majority of deaths in breast cancer patients, is a process by which cancer cells acquire the ability to invade tissue and survive in other parts of the body.

Dysregulation of the protein TGF-β is known to drive breast cancer metastasis, but the precise molecular mechanisms are unknown. In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by William Shiemann at Case Western Reserve University identified a microRNA, miR-181a, that is altered by TGF-β to promote metastasis.

Shiemann and colleagues found that miR-181a repressed the expression of a protein, BIM1, which causes cells to die when they detach from surrounding tissue, a key step in metastasis. Additionally, they determined that increased expression of miR-181a was correlated with decreased overall survival in breast cancer patients.

These findings suggest that miR-181a could potentially serve as a predictive marker for breast cancer metastasis.

TITLE:TGF-β upregulates miR-181a expression to promote breast cancer metastasis

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