Scientists have uncovered that an enzyme called CHIP suppresses breast cancer. The research, online in Nature Cell Biology, suggests that a target of the enzyme known as SRC-3 represents a promising new molecular target for this cancer.
Many solid tumours form metastases, where the cancer spreads from its site of origin -- this is the main reason for therapeutic failure and cancer mortality. As such, there is a renewed focus on designing drugs that target molecular pathways required for metastasis.
Junn Yanagisawa and colleagues report that CHIP, which is known to degrade a number of cancer causing proteins, also acts to degrade the gene regulator SRC-3, which then suppresses tumour progression in breast cancer. In a mouse model, CHIP expression inhibited metastasis formation, while its deletion accelerated the process. Loss of CHIP leads to increased expression of a number of cancer associated proteins, causing cells to become invasive and to grow in an uncontrolled manner, both attributes of cancer cells.
Since SRC-3 accounts for the cancer suppressive role of CHIP, it presents a new therapeutic target for breast cancer.
Junn Yanagisawa (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Cell Biology press release.
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