Breast Cancer: New protein linked to the spread discovered
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New Protein Linked To The Spread Of Breast Cancer Identified

Vallari Sharma
3 min read

New Protein Linked To The Spread Of Breast Cancer Identified

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According to the researchers, a certain protein that once deactivated could prevent the development of metastases for HER2-positive breast cancer, an aggressive kind of cancer.

Scientists at the University of Montreal have found a strong link between a certain protein and breast cancer.

A cancerous tumour develops when cells proliferate at an abnormally high rate and agglomerate in healthy tissues. Some of these cells are even more cunning. “Sometimes, cancer cells manage to leave the tumour to spread in the body, which complicates the evolution of the disease,” said researcher Cote.

Metastatic cells move more easily than most of their peers. They detach from a tumour, enter the bloodstream, and reach other organs such as the lungs, bones, or the brain. These cells are more difficult to destroy as they spread to other parts of the body and are more resistant to existing treatments. It has been observed that 90 per cent of breast-cancer deaths are caused by metastases.

The Canadian researchers have taken a step towards actually blocking metastases. In their study, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) team demonstrated that a protein—AXL—influences the occurrence of metastasis in HER2-positive cancer, an aggressive type that accounts for 20 per cent of breast cancers.

In women with HER2-positive cancer, it was found that the less the AXL is present, the better the survival rate is.

“We determined that AXL is required for intravasation, extravasation, and growth at the metastatic site. We found that AXL is expressed in HER2+ cancers displaying epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signatures where it contributes to sustaining EMT. Interfering with AXL in a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) impaired transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-induced cell invasion,” the authors wrote.


“Based on this discovery, a treatment targeting AXL could reduce the risk of metastasis,” stated Cote.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women is likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here are some signs that can alert you to the fact that something may be wrong:

1. A lump that doesn’t disappear within a few days after your period

2. Breast pain

3. Swelling of the breast and around it

4. Dimpling of nipples that hurt

5. Leaky liquid from the nipples

6. Redness or thickening of the skin around the breast

If you observe any of these symptoms, you should definitely schedule a visit to the doctor.

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