Breast Cancer Spreads to Bone By Burrowing Holes

By Peter R - 28 May '15 14:33PM

By identifying an enzyme key to metastasis, a new research has shown how breast cancer spread to the bone can be controlled.

Researchers at University of Sheffield and University of Copenhagen found that primary breast tumors release an enzyme called LysYl Oxidase or LOX that causes holes in the bone and preps it for arrival of cancer cells.

"The next step is to find out exactly how the tumor secreted LOX interacts with bone cells to be able to develop new drugs to stop the formation of the bone lesions and cancer metastasis. This could also have implications for how we treat other bone diseases too," said University of Sheffield's Dr. Alison Gartland.

Researchers postulate that LOX activity in estrogen receptor negative breast cancer patients can be blocked if identified early, preventing spread and damage to the bone tissue. Bone is the most common site for metastasis of the disease, accounting for 12,000 a year in the U.K. alone.

The study also describes the use of Bisphosphonate in treating bone damage cause by breast cancer. Currently prescribed for osteoporosis treatment, Bisphosphonate class of drugs have been shown to stop spread of cancer to the bone in mice and also prevent tissue damage.

"By unveiling role the protein LOX is playing, these results open up a whole new avenue for research and treatments that could stop breast cancer spreading to the bone. The research also adds weight to the growing body of evidence supporting the role of bisphosphonates in stopping secondary breast cancer in its tracks," said Katherine Woods, Senior Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer,

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