Metastasis is a process where cancer cells spread from the primary tumor to surrounding tissues and distant organs in the body.
It is the primary cause of death from breast cancer. Understanding how cancer cells adapt and change is important in treating metastatic cancer.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center have discovered a promising target for treating metastatic breast cancer.
The study, published in PNAS on May 8, identified a metabolite called succinate that plays a role in enhancing cancer cell plasticity, and an enzyme called PLOD2 that regulates succinate during breast cancer progression.
The study was led by Ren Xu, Ph.D., a professor in the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, and Andrew N. Lane, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for Environmental and Systems Biochemistry.
Succinate and PLOD2
The research found that succinate, a metabolite, helps to enhance cancer cell plasticity, which is critical for the progression to metastatic cancer.
Meanwhile, PLOD2, an enzyme, is responsible for regulating succinate during breast cancer progression.
The team studied metabolic reprogramming in mammary epithelial cells during epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a biological process that mobilizes cancer cells.
The results showed that PLOD2 expression during EMT elevated succinate levels in breast cancer cells, while PLOD2 inhibition reduced succinate levels and inhibited cancer cell plasticity.
New Target for Treatment
These findings suggest that targeting PLOD2 could be a promising strategy to suppress breast cancer metastasis and drug resistance.
The study shows that reducing succinate levels could inhibit cancer cell plasticity, which is critical for cancer progression.
“As PLOD2 is a druggable target, these findings could pave the way for the development of new therapies to stop cancer progression,” said Xu.
The discovery of succinate’s role in breast cancer metastasis and PLOD2’s regulation of succinate is significant in understanding how changes in metabolites promote cancer cell plasticity.
By identifying PLOD2 as a regulator of succinate during breast cancer progression, this study highlights a potential new target for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
How to prevent cancer
There is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Here are some tips:
Quit smoking: Smoking is a major cause of cancer, including lung, throat, and bladder cancer. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Stay at a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and kidney cancer. Eating a healthy diet and staying physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and lung cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of cancer. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit your intake of red and processed meats, sugary foods and drinks, and alcohol.
Protect your skin from the sun: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. To protect your skin, stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Get screened for cancer: Regular cancer screenings can help detect cancer early when it’s most treatable. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should be screened for cancer based on your age, gender, and other risk factors.
Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast, liver, and colon cancer. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Remember, no one can completely prevent cancer. But by making healthy choices and getting regular screenings, you can reduce your risk and catch cancer early when it’s most treatable.
If you care about liver health, please read studies about dairy foods linked to liver cancer, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D supplements could strongly reduce cancer death.
The study was published in PNAS.
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