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MicroRNA Drives Breast Cancer Metastasis By Promoting Cancer Cell Survival

Tumor , which accounts for the majority of deaths in breast cancer patients, is a process by which cancer cells acquire the ability to invade and survive in other parts of the body. Dysregulation of the TGF-β is known to drive breast cancer metastasis, but the precise molecular mechanisms are unknown.

In this issue of the , researchers led by at Case Western Reserve University identified a microRNA, miR-181a, that is altered by TGF-β to promote metastasis.

Shiemann and colleagues found that miR-181a repressed the expression of a protein, BIM1, which causes cells to die when they detach from surrounding tissue, a key step in metastasis. Additionally, they determined that increased expression of miR-181a was correlated with decreased overall survival in breast cancer patients.

These findings suggest that miR-181a could potentially serve as a predictive marker for breast cancer metastasis.

William Schiemann
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA


TGF-β upregulates miR-181a expression to promote breast cancer metastasis

Journal of Clinical Investigation , 2012