Identification of Gene May Lead to Precision Breast Cancer Therapies

Discovery can help predict progression to metastatic cancer.

A new gene has been identified that could help in the development of future breast cancer therapies and the prediction of metastatic disease.

Serum deprivation response (SDPR) is a gene that is down-regulated in breast cancer cells. This causes tumors to spread throughout the body.

In a breast cancer model, researchers found that metastatic breast cancer had almost no genetic expression of SDPR. When this gene was turned on there was a significant decrease observed in the rate of metastatic disease.

Metastatic breast cancer can be a hindrance to finding a cure and is the major cause of death from the disease.

Discovery has been slow in identifying new metastasis suppressors like SDPR, because of the regulation of epigenetic mechanisms.

"It is of utmost importance to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms that facilitate/prevent cancer metastasis," said author Sam Thiagalingam.

SDPR loss was also found in other forms of cancer, which suggests that the suppressor could have an impact on cancers other than metastatic breast cancer.

“While this is a significant advance in deciphering the molecular basis of the metastatic disease and may help to predict progression to metastatic cancer, its potential importance in the development of future precision cancer therapies have yet to be worked out from the identification of druggable targets regulated by SDPR," Thiagalingam said.