Breast Cancer Metastasis Gene Linked to Poor Survival

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Thursday, September 3, 2009

THURSDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of a gene involved in glucose metabolism and cell death is higher in breast cancer brain metastases compared with primary tumors, and high expression is associated with poor survival, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in Molecular Cancer Research.

Diane Palmieri, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues compared global gene expression by microarray in eight brain metastases of breast tumors and nine unlinked primary breast tumors matched for histology, tumor-node-metastasis stage, and hormone receptor status.

The researchers found that the expression of four genes was significantly reduced in brain metastases, while the expression of another was increased. In particular, the expression of hexokinase 2 (HK2), which is important in glucose metabolism and apoptosis, was higher in the brain metastases, and blocking expression reduced cell growth when glucose was limiting. Increased HK2 expression in a separate group of 123 breast cancer brain metastases was significantly associated with poor survival after craniotomy.

"The data suggest that HK2 overexpression is associated with metastasis to the brain in breast cancer and it may be a therapeutic target," Palmieri and colleagues conclude.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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