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This protein may add to breast cancer risk

ANI  |  Washington DC, [USA] 

A sticky protien found outside cells may be the reason behind growth.

A new study has uncovered that the protein called fibronectin promotes the activity of estrogen in cells.

The study "Fibronectin rescues estrogen receptor a from lysosomal degradation in cells," was led by Rocío Sampayo.

Together they show a novel mechanism of estrogen receptor signalling that is regulated by fibronectin. It was found that exposure to fibronectin prolongs the activity of estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells.

The hormone estrogen plays a key role in the development of healthy cells and, in many cases, cancerous cells. Estrogen attaches to cellular estrogen receptors, which promote cell growth and survival. But too much estrogen receptor activity can cause cells to proliferate rapidly, leading to growth.

About 75% of breast are considered estrogen receptor positive because estrogen causes those to propagate.

As cancerous cells start invading into surrounding tissue, they encounter the gluey fibronectin protein.

"In the normal mammary gland, epithelial cells are not in contact with fibronectin," said Sampayo.

Fibronectin is part of the extracellular matrix, the meshwork of proteins and molecules that surrounds cells. In tumours, the production of this surrounding network often becomes unregulated. Previous research has shown that high levels of fibronectin and its receptor ß1-integrin correlate with survival, but it was not known why.

In the current study, Sampayo and his fellow researchers discovered that fibronectin boosts estrogen receptors' activity in breast cancer cells.

They found that when breast cancer cells are surrounded by fibronectin, estrogen receptors avoid destruction by lysosomes--cellular garbage disposal units--and can continue to drive cancer cell growth.

"This would allow breast cancer cells to become resistant to common drugs that target the receptor," he added.

The research suggests that therapeutics that interferes with fibronectin's influence on the estrogen receptor could help treat drug-resistant breast

The work also throws light on how the meshwork of proteins surrounding can influence cancer progression.

The study appears in the Journal of Cell Biology.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 11:30 IST