c-Met Signals to Intracellular Rac to Promote Breast Cancer Metastasis

A research article published in Nature Communications identifies a new mechanism of breast cancer metastasis.
Published Online: May 22, 2014
Scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have uncovered a new mechanism which makes breast cancer cells move and invade the body, a discovery which could shed light on how to treat particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer and stop it spreading and recurring.


The study – published in the journal Nature Communications and led by QMUL's Barts Cancer Institute – investigated the role of a molecule called 'c-Met' which is present in almost a third of breast cancer patients and is known to make breast cancer cells move, and therefore spread, around the body. This process is known as metastasis and is a major cause of treatment failure and cancer death.

When looking at aggressive breast cancer cells, the researchers found that c-Met acted differently to normal and 'switched on' another important molecule (known as 'Rac'), from a specific location inside the cell, instead of from the cell surface, as previously thought. This signalling inside the cell is necessary to trigger the cancer cells movement.

Source: MedicalXpress



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