(HealthDay News) — A protein important in cell adhesion and migration is important in breast cancer metastasis, and its expression level predicts recurrence-free and distant metastasis-free survival, according to a study published online Aug. 7 in Cancer Research.

Jeroen Middelbeek, from the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined the role of transient receptor potential melastatin-like 7 (TRPM7) by examining its expression in 368 samples from early-stage breast cancer patients and in a mouse xenograft model of human breast cancer.

The researchers found that elevated TRPM7 expression was associated with significantly shorter recurrence-free survival and distant metastasis-free survival, which was validated in an independent group of 144 breast cancer patients. Invasive human breast cancer cells deficient in TRPM7 had significantly impaired migration, and mice injected with these cells had significantly fewer metastases.

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“Our findings therefore suggest that TRPM7 is part of a mechanosensory complex adopted by cancer cells to drive metastasis formation,” Middelbeek and colleagues conclude.


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