In the Literature: A Speech Gene Prevents Breast Cancer Metastasis

The study, published in Cell Stem Cell, identified a microRNA-mediated inhibitory pathway that repressed expression of the speech and language gene FOXP2, promoting metastases of breast cancer cells to distant sites.

A research team led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has identified an unexpected link between a transcription factor known to regulate speech and language development and metastatic colonization of breast cancer.

Currently described online in Cell Stem Cell, the new findings demonstrate that, when silenced, the FOXP2 transcription factor, otherwise known as the speech gene, endows breast cancer cells with a number of malignant traits and properties that enable them to survive -- and thrive.

"We have identified a previously undescribed function for the transcription factor FOXP2 in breast cancer," explains senior author Antoine Karnoub, PhD, an investigator in the Department of Pathology at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. "We have found that depressed FOXP2 [a member of the forkhead family of transcriptional regulators] and elevated levels of its upstream inhibitor microRNA 199a are prominent features of clinically advanced breast cancers that associate with poor patient survival."

Reported on ScienceDaily: http://bit.ly/1D103fG

Link to the journal article: http://bit.ly/1zlZmAV