Princeton: Jagged1 molecule linked to breast cancer metastasis
Feb 8, 2011
Researchers at Princeton University, lead by Dr. Yibin Kang, published findings in February's Cancer Cell Journal, illustrating a more detailed picture of how breast cancer spreads to the bone.
A 2009 study by Dr. Kang's lab had linked the TGF-beta protein in bones to breast cancer metastasis, the spread of disease from one organ to another.
70 to 80 percent of advanced breast cancer cases spread to the bone. According to Jacqueline Bromberg, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, "the bone is the most common site for metastasis in patients with breast cancer."
In the new findings, Kang's team was able to paint a nuanced picture of the micro-environment surrounding breast cancer to bone metastasis. A signaling molecule, called Jagged1, was found to have higher levels in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Jagged1 contributes to both bone tissue deterioration and to "elevated levels of Interleukin-6, a tumor growth factor, so the cancer grows even faster," said Kang.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer in her life. The National Cancer Institute recommends regular exercise of 30 to 60 minutes daily as one way of countering breast cancer risk.