The spread of a tumor from one organ to another is the major cause of morbidity from cancer. However, therapeutic strategies for direct interference with the invasion process are lacking.
In a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Martin Jechlinger and colleagues from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, show that the ability of cancerous epithelial cells in breast tissue to spread to another organ is dependent on a signaling pathway that involves platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and its receptor, PDGFR. Inhibition of PDGFR signaling caused the death of mouse and human breast cancer cells in culture.
The authors also noted that the expression of two types of the PDGF receptor, PDGFR-alpha and PDGFR-beta, correlated with the invasive behavior of human breast cancer carcinomas. The authors suggest that administration of the established cancer drug ST1571 may be a useful therapeutic approach to interfere with PDGF/PDGFR signaling and therefore prevent breast cancer spread.
Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 1, 2006