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publicado em 09/08/2011 às 12h30:00
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Molecule difficult work and helping the evolution of metastatic

Family of molecules prevents metastasis in the early stages, but promotes the spread of tumor cells in the later stages

 
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Foto: Brian Wilson/Princeton University
Foto: Kim Sokoloff
Yibin Kang, ao fundo, junto à sua equipe de pesquisa Yibin Kang, autor sênior do estudo
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Yibin Kang, ao fundo, junto à sua equipe de pesquisa
Yibin Kang, autor sênior do estudo

Although small in size, the tiny family of molecules microRNAs can play a big role in the process of cancer metastasis. A team of researchers from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Princeton University in the United States, along with European colleagues, revealed that miR-200 family have a paradoxical role in the development of metastatic cancer.

On the one hand, these microRNAs slow the spread of breast cancer cells into the bloodstream, preventing the spread of the tumor. However, when the diseased cells escape and then seek new organs such as the lungs, the same miR-200 facilitates this process. The study is described in the online edition of Nature Medicine.

The family of microRNAs miR-200 has played the role of preventing metastasis in its early stages. But first, the researchers found that this molecule is able to promote metastasis in the later stages of the process, changing the communication between tumor cells and tissues of the host.

Most cancers arise from epithelial tissue that lines the organs. High levels of the molecule E-cadherin in epithelial cells allow the intercellular adhesion necessary to maintain the structure and function of these tissues. However, in the first stage of metastasis, tumor cells reduces the levels of this molecule, affecting its ability to physically interact with neighboring tumor epithelial cells.

This process allows them to spread out and distance themselves from the main tumor, as part of a process called epithelial-mesenchymal transition. This process usually occurs during embryonic development as a means to provide a development framework for the body of the embryo. In a normal adult tissue, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (middle layer) occurs only in rare cases, such as during wound healing. In the case of metastatic cancer cells use this process to spread.

Previous research showed that miR-200 forces the production of E-cadherin, thus blocking the migration of tumor cells. Using experimental models of metastatic breast cancer, researchers found that miR-200 also produced highly metastatic cells.

Analyzing breast cancer cells, the team found that the tumors contained high levels of miR-200, resulting in a significantly higher risk of metastatic relapse. Looking more closely at samples of lung metastasis, the team found high levels of miR-200 compared with the amounts found in breast tumors from the same patients.

"Since tumor cells have spread, miR-200 allowed them to recover the original feature adhesive. Restoring a link cell to cell, tumor cells increase the likelihood of the growth of secondary tumors," noted the study's senior author, Yibin Kang, a member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and associate professor of molecular biology at Princeton University.

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Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   MRNAs    Metastasis    Tumor cells    Mir200    Molecules    Search    Princeton   
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