Claudia Bagni, VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, Leuven, Belgium, and colleagues identified the way Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP) contributes to the progression of breast cancer. FMRP acts as a master switch controlling the levels of several proteins involved in different stages of aggressive breast cancer, including the invasion of cancer cells into blood vessels and the spread of these cancer cells to other tissues.
High levels of FMRP were identified in human breast cancer tissue microarrays. In mice, high levels of FMRP in primary breast cancer tumors were also linked to the spread of the cancer to the lungs and the development of secondary metastasis. In contrast, reduction of FMRP led to a decrease in metastasis.
The researchers suggest that the levels of FMRP might be used as an indicator of aggressive breast cancer. They could be used to predict the likelihood of the spread of cancer to other organs like the lung.
- The Fragile X Protein binds mRNAs involved in cancer progression and modulates metastasis formation,
Rossella Lucá, Michele Averna, Francesca Zalfa, Manuela Vecchi, Fabrizio Bianchi, Giorgio La Fata, Franca Del Nonno, Roberta Nardacci, Marco Bianchi, Paolo Nuciforo, Sebastian Munck, Paola Parrella, Rute Moura, Emanuela Signori, Robert Alston, Anna Kuchnio, Maria Giulia Farace, Vito Michele Fazio, Mauro Piacentini, Bart De Strooper, Tilmann Achsel, Giovanni Neri, Patrick Neven, D. Gareth Evans, Peter Carmeliet, Massimiliano Mazzone, Claudia Bagni,
EMBO Molec. Med. 2013.