Lowering brain metastasis: microRNA-1258 found to decrease heparanase
Feb 9, 2011
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine havereleased promising data showing that the genetic material microRNA-1258 binds to the cancer-spreadingenzyme known as heparanase, suppresses its activity, and thus lowers brain metastasis.
Heparanase is a cell-surface enzyme that breaks down blood vessel layers, thus contributing to the spread of cancer to the blood and subsequently to the brain.
However, the activity of heparanase is controlled by short RNA molecules known as microRNAs (miRNAs) that bind, regulate, and usually repress the more content-based messenger RNA which codes for heparanase.
Scientists first found that high levels of heparanase were correlated with low levels of miRNA-1258, which led them to introduce miRNA-1258 into animals anddiscovering discover that miRNA-1258 "inhibited brain metastases by 74 percent," according to Dr. Dario Marchetti, the study's lead scientist.
"Our investigations introduce new concepts that brain metastasis might be inhibited by microRNA-based strategies," said Dr. Marchetti.
Breast cancer that spreads to the brain is a major cause of death in breast cancer patients, according to the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics. Between 20 to 30 percent of breast cancer patients are eventually affected by brain metastasis, according to the California Breast Cancer Research Program.