Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer

Date:
June 2, 2011
Source:
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
While it is already known that breast cancer cells create the conditions for their own survival by communicating their needs to the healthy cells that surround them, Australian researchers have identified a new way of turning off that cellular cross talk. They have shown that a molecule known as "hedgehog" sits at the center of the switchboard in breast cancer, transmitting biochemical signals between the cancer cells and healthy cells.

While it is already known that breast cancer cells create the conditions for their own survival by communicating their needs to the healthy cells that surround them, Australian researchers have identified a new way of turning off that cellular cross talk.

Related Articles


They have shown that a molecule known as 'hedgehog' sits at the centre of the switchboard in breast cancer, transmitting biochemical signals between the cancer cells and healthy cells.

When this conversation is blocked -- or hedgehog is 'silenced' -- tumours shrink and stop their spread.

While the finding applies to all breast cancers, it is particularly relevant for women with basal breast cancer, for which there is no current targeted therapy.

The good news is that drugs for silencing hedgehog are already undergoing Phase 2 clinical trials in other cancer types.

Clinical Associate Professor Sandra O'Toole and Dr Alex Swarbrick, from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, analysed breast tumour samples from a cohort of 279 women with advanced breast cancer, revealing that the higher the level of hedgehog, the more aggressive the cancer.

Having discovered high levels of hedgehog in some breast cancer patients, they went on to over-produce the protein in mouse models of basal breast cancer. Mice developed tumours that grew and spread through the body rapidly. When hedgehog was blocked, the tumour growth and spread were significantly slowed.

These findings are published in the journal Cancer Research, now online.

"We are hopeful that our findings will drive the progress of clinical trials for anti-hedgehog drugs in breast cancer," said Dr Alex Swarbrick.

"Finding an effective drug target for basal breast cancer is a very high priority. It is often referred to as 'triple negative disease', because it doesn't produce any of the oestrogen, progesterone or HER2 receptors, targets of the drugs tamoxifen and Herceptin, which are very effective in other breast cancers."

A/Prof O'Toole, also a pathologist at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, undertook the study as part of her PhD. "These findings may provide some hope to the many women who succumb to breast cancer each year, especially the basal sub-type, although obviously it is early days," she said.

"More work in animal models is needed to understand exactly how best to block this pathway."

"Our study demonstrates that starving breast cancer cells of hedgehog significantly slows their growth and spread."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. A. O'Toole, D. A. Machalek, R. F. Shearer, E. K. A. Millar, R. Nair, P. Schofield, D. McLeod, C. L. Cooper, C. M. McNeil, A. McFarland, A. Nguyen, C. J. Ormandy, M. R. Qiu, B. Rabinovich, L. G. Martelotto, D. Vu, G. E. Hannigan, E. A. Musgrove, D. Christ, R. L. Sutherland, D. N. Watkins, A. Swarbrick. Hedgehog Overexpression Is Associated with Stromal Interactions and Predicts for Poor Outcome in Breast Cancer. Cancer Research, 2011; 71 (11): 4002 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3738

Cite This Page:

Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602091830.htm>.
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. (2011, June 2). Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602091830.htm
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602091830.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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:

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