Blocking A Key Enzyme Might Prevent Breast Cancer Metastasis
Posted Feb 28 2011 9:58am
Breast cancer metastasis leads to a more aggressive cancer with poorer outcomes. Therefore, the need for methods to prevent breast cancer from spreading is extremely high and research on ways to better understand and prevent breast cancer metastasis is critical. New breast cancer research from the Institute of Cancer Research suggests that blocking a key enzyme might prevent the spread of breast cancer.
LOXL2 promotes the spread of breast cancer cells to surrounding tissues and beyond by regulating the production of an enzyme (MMP-9) involved in tissue breakdown and another enzyme (TIMP-1) that acts to prevent the action of MMP-9.
Studies of human tissue samples from breast cancer patients clearly showed that high levels of LOXL2 are linked to breast cancer metastasis and decreased survival.
Animal studies showed that blocking this enzyme in multiple ways was able to decrease the spread of breast cancer cells to other tissues like lungs, bone, and liver.
These are important findings that are discussed in greater detail in a related news release . Overall, these study results provide at least two important opportunities. Since high levels of LOXL2 were linked to more aggressive breast cancers, measuring LOXL2 in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients allows physicians an opportunity to provide a more targeted and individualized breast cancer treatment regimen that might lead to improved chances of survival. Secondly, if breast cancer has already spread, inhibiting LOXL2 might help to reduce additional breast cancer metastasis. The development of drugs that safely and effectively block the action or production of this enzyme might be an important step in development of improved breast cancer treatments.