Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pathway Linked To Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Date:
June 8, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
A gene well known to stop or suppress cancer plays a role in cancer stem cells, according to a new study. The researchers found that several pathways linked to the gene, called PTEN, also affected the growth of breast cancer stem cells.

Tumors generated from normal breast cells and from breast cells in which PTEN has been deleted.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan Health System

A gene well known to stop or suppress cancer plays a role in cancer stem cells, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The researchers found that several pathways linked to the gene, called PTEN, also affected the growth of breast cancer stem cells.

Further, by using a drug that interferes with that pathway, the researchers produced an up to 90 percent decrease in the number of cancer stem cells within a tumor.

PTEN is the most frequently inactivated tumor suppressor gene in several cancers, including breast cancer, where it is inactivated in about 40 percent of patients. PTEN is linked to poor outcomes and is associated with aggressive cancers resistant to chemotherapy and current targeted therapies.

The U-M researchers deleted PTEN in tumors grown in cell cultures and in mice, and found an increase in the number of stem cells. They also looked at pathways associated with PTEN and reported that a pathway called PI3-K/Akt regulated the cancer stem cell population by activating another stem cell pathway, Wnt, which is also implicated in multiple cancer types.

“Although there has been considerable progress in identifying cancer stem cells in a variety of tumor types, the pathways that drive the transformation of these cells are not well understood,” says lead study author Hasan Korkaya, D.V.M., Ph.D., research investigator in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Researchers at U-M were the first to identify stem cells in breast cancer. These cells represent fewer than 5 percent of the cells in a tumor but are believed to be responsible for fueling a tumor’s growth and spread. Researchers believe that the ultimate cure of cancer will require killing these cancer stem cells.

In the current study, researchers looked at a drug called perifosine, which inhibits the Akt pathway. Tumors in mice were treated with perifosine or docetaxel, a standard chemotherapy drug. The docetaxel alone showed no effect on the number of cancer stem cells in the tumor. But adding perifosine reduced the cancer stem cell population by up to 90 percent.

What’s more, the cells treated with perifosine – either with or without docetaxel – were less likely to grow a secondary tumor, compared to the cells treated with just docetaxel.

“This is most exciting since perifosine and other drugs that target this pathway are currently in clinical development. If cancer stem cells do contribute to tumor relapse, then adding drugs that target these cells may help to make our current therapies more effective,” says study senior author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Additional authors include Amanda Paulson, Christophe Ginestier, Marty Brown, Julie Dutcher and Shawn G. Clouthier, all from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Emmanuelle Charafe-Jauffret from the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology at the Marseille Cancer Research Institute in France.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at U-M.

Breast cancer statistics: 194,280 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,610 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Korkaya H, Paulson A, Charafe-Jauffret E, Ginestier C, Brown M, et al. Regulation of Mammary Stem/Progenitor Cells by PTEN/Akt/b-Catenin Signaling. PLoS Biology, Vol. 7, No. 6, June 1, 2009 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000121

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Pathway Linked To Breast Cancer Stem Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601211427.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2009, June 8). Pathway Linked To Breast Cancer Stem Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601211427.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Pathway Linked To Breast Cancer Stem Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601211427.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins