Vall d’Hebron detects key protein preventing breast cancer metastasis

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A team of researchers from Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) with him CIBER for Cancer (Ciberonc) has identified the role of integrin protein B3 in metastasis of breast cancer, so that could be “a therapeutic target” to prevent the spread of disease to other body organs.

The study, published in ‘Nature Communications’ and released this Wednesday, has made it possible to identify the role of the protein in the uptake of vesicles by cells, which favors the formation of tumors in other organs.

This finding is relevant because 90% of deaths caused by breast cancer are due to metastases in other organs, such as the lung, and in the formation of these tumors communication between cells is key, in which the vesicles play a preponderant role.

90% of deaths from breast cancer occur when the disease spreads to other organs

The doctor Stefan Hümmer, A researcher at VHIR and Ciberonc and one of the authors of the work, has pointed out that the study is one of the first “to describe the pathways that allow these vesicles to enter cells to promote tumor growth and the role of integrin B3 play in this process. “

“We have seen that when we inhibit the B3 integrin, the vesicles cannot be internalized and, therefore, there is no stimulus that favors tumor growth in the new organ to promote metastasis”, added the doctor. Santiago Ramón y Cajal, head of the VHIR translational molecular pathology group, of the Vall d’Hebron pathology service and group leader of Ciberonc.

Other viruses

This mechanism of entry into cells has been observed previously in herpes virus when they enter human cells, a similarity that has helped researchers understand and study this pathway of entry. Following this discovery, the group is now working on the search for Integrin B3 inhibitors, what would be a “possible strategy” to avoid metastasis.

“These inhibitors would be specific for the control of metastases. For this reason, they should be administered in conjunction with other treatments directed at the primary tumor,” added Dr. Ramón y Cajal.

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