Friday, September 28, 2007

Cancer: MicroRNAs and metastasis

A particular microRNA, microRNA-10b (miR-10b), has been found in abundance in breast cancer cells that have the ability to spread to other organs, according to research published online in Nature this week. The authors demonstrate that it is miR-10b that causes the invasion and metastasis of primary tumour cells.

Robert Weinberg and colleagues demonstrate that miR-10b is induced by the transcriptional regulator Twist, which is of increasing interest in cancer research. miR-10b exerts its effects by regulating the target gene HOXD10, thereby removing RHOC repression.

Understanding why miR-10b is highly expressed in aggressive human breast tumours, and how it functions, gives a better understanding of these high-grade cancers.

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