A study recently published in «Nature Communications», shows that cells of breast cancer are time stress before becoming cancerous. That is, a new signal is identified in tumor cells, which may help in the development of anti-cancer therapies.
The progression of malignant breast tumors involves several stages from benign lesions to invasive carcinoma, and sometimes metastasis. However, only 20-50% of non-malignant tumors become an invasive cancer. If it were possible to predict which lesions will become malignant, it would lead to more efficient use of therapeutic agents.
Scientists from the research center Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia looking for signals inside the cell, which could show which benign tumors will progress to invasive carcinoma. They focused on the scaffold, or cytoskeleton - a complex network of fibers, which are able to affect the invasion and malignant tumors. These fibers may be combined in various designs to render the cells more rigid or soft structure.
Previous studies have shown that cancer invasion depends on the softening cells. But now scientists have found that before becoming invasive cells undergo temporary stress caused by the accumulation of cytoskeletal filaments.
The research team has found that cell stiffness is active proteins that promote cell proliferation, stimulating the growth of benign tumors. Moreover, this condition causes stiffness and subsequent progression to invasive cancer.
The scientists noted that their work can help predict which tumors will metastasize, and what treatment should be given to patients with malignant neoplasm of the breast.