Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate

Date:
February 4, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Breast tissue cells from certain individuals make abnormal cell-fate decisions even before cancer develops. This provides exciting new insights into the mechanisms behind one of the most lethal types of breast cancer.

A new study sheds light on why individuals who inherit a particular family of mutations have a high risk of developing a very aggressive form of breast cancer. The research, published by Cell Press on February 4th in the journal Cell Stem Cell, shows that breast tissue cells from these individuals make abnormal cell-fate decisions even before cancer develops and provides exciting new insights into the mechanisms behind one of the most lethal types of breast cancer.

Related Articles


There are many forms of human breast cancer. Mutations in the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene are associated with the development of the "basal-like" subtype of breast cancer which exhibits a very poor prognosis. "Recent evidence has indicated that BRCA1 might regulate breast cell differentiation," explains senior study author Dr. Charlotte Kuperwasser, Associate Professor in anatomy and cellular biology from Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. "We wanted to examine whether BRCA1's role in differentiation was associated with the increased development of basal-like breast cancer."

Dr. Kuperwasser's group examined disease-free breast tissues from patients with normal or mutant BRCA1 genes. Using an ingenious strategy that allowed them to mimic the environment of intact human breast tissue, they transplanted the human cells into mice and looked at the types of tumors that formed after the cells were exposed to additional cancer-promoting signals. Although the cells with normal BRCA1 grew into different kinds of breast cancer, the cells from women with BRCA1 mutations mostly formed the aggressive basal-like tumors. Importantly, molecular analysis of disease-free breast cells with mutated BRCA1 revealed that even before tumors developed, the mutant cells were more likely to remain immature and contain elevated levels of a protein called Slug. The researchers showed that when Slug is present in the breast, cells are unable to undergo proper maturation and are stalled in a premature state of development. This premature state of development is subsequently retained in basal-like breast cancers.

These findings show that BRCA1 mutations significantly impact breast cell maturation even before the patients manifest an increased risk for breast cancer. In a sense, the BRCA1 mutation "stacks the deck" towards a basal-like tumor phenotype by biasing differentiation towards this state. "Future studies will be necessary to fully dissect the precise domains and mechanisms by which BRCA1 regulates breast epithelial differentiation," concludes Dr. Kuperwasser. "In addition, further experiments will be needed to determine whether certain mutations in BRCA1 affect differentiation and regulate cell fate differently and whether different mutations alter the propensity for the development of basal-like tumors."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Theresa A. Proia, Patricia J. Keller, Piyush B. Gupta, Ina Klebba, Ainsley D. Jones, Maja Sedic, Hannah Gilmore, Nadine Tung, Stephen P. Naber, Stuart Schnitt et al. Genetic Predisposition Directs Breast Cancer Phenotype by Dictating Progenitor Cell Fate. Cell Stem Cell, Volume 8, Issue 2, 149-163, 4 February 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.12.007

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124720.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, February 4). Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124720.htm
Cell Press. "Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124720.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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