Tumor Invasion Strategies Revealed

Glioblastoma multiforme tumors with excessive GBP1 become invaders

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) What triggers some tumors to begin their invasion of healthy tissue? What gives the marching orders? Scientists now know the cascading events that push brain tumors to start infiltrating.

Scientists now know that glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) - a deadly brain tumor - with excessive amounts of a particular protein called GBP1 tend to invade healthy surrounding tissue.

"Find out what genetic tests are available for GBM."

Nearly half of all GBM - 40 percent - have a genetic rearrangement that reprograms a protein known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). This mutation puts EGFR into overdrive.

A research team headed by Frank Furnari, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and an associate investigator at the San Diego branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, looked at what's going on with the super active EGFR.

The team found that the EGFR signals another protein known as GBP1 to ramp up for action. GBP1, in turn, sets off a trigger for the body to produce MMP1. This protein actually chops away at healthy surrounding tissue. And these moves open space for the cancer cells to start their invasion march into the tissue around the tumor.

Furnari and colleagues found that tumors without GBP1 are less aggressive. Lacking this protein, GBM cells that would normally leak into new territory tended to form less invasive tumors in mouse models.

This study was published in the December 12, 2011 issue of Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Review Date: 
December 13, 2011
Last Updated:
December 13, 2011