Breast cancer metastasis could be thwarted by proteins
Alternative splicing is a natural cellular process that helps cells perform many functions such as wound healing. Previous research has shown that alternative splicing can functionally control tumour metastasis. About 95% of all genes in the human body are processed through alternative splicing, which only recently has been shown to play a role in cancer metastasis.
In this study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers screened cells looking for proteins functioning as alternative splicing modulators that prevented cells from becoming metastatic. They found that AKAP8, a protein naturally produced in the body, could suppress breast cancer metastasis in animal models of human tumours.
Additionally, the researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine observed that high levels of AKAP8 in the body predict a better survival for breast cancer patients.
“We studied AKAP8 in metastatic breast cancer animal model systems of cancer cells from human patients,” said corresponding author Dr Chonghui Cheng. “We found that depletion of the AKAP8 protein in patient cancer cells promoted breast cancer metastasis in these mouse models. Furthermore, providing an external source of AKAP8 inhibited metastasis.”