Breast cancer: Discovery of a protein linked to metastasisA cancerous tumor develops when cells proliferate at an abnormally high rate and agglomerate in healthy tissue. Some of these cells are even more cunning. “Sometimes, cancer cells manage to leave the tumor to spread in the body, which complicates the evolution of the disease
A protein that, once deactivated, could prevent the spread of an aggressive type of breast cancer to other sites in the body, a process known as metastasis.
In their study, published in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers demonstrated that a protein, AXL, influences the occurrence of metastasis in HER2-positive cancer, an aggressive type that accounts for 20 per cent of breast cancers.
In HER2-positive breast cancers, cells with high levels of AXL are more likely to detach from tumours to form metastases.