How one DNA mutation in breast cancer hijacks the immune system
10 jul 2019 17:21
One defective gene in breast tumour cells can promote metastases elsewhere in the body by steering the immune system in an undesirable direction. This is the p53 gene, which is deleted or mutated in the tumour cells of nearly 40% of breast cancer patients.
An article about this discovery by the research group of immunologist and tumour biologist Karin de Visser of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute, was published in the scientific journal Nature on July 31.
‘We were quite surprised that a single gene not only regulates processes within the cell but also has such a dominant effect on the immune system throughout the body,' says researcher Max Wellenstein, first author of the Nature publication.
Research leader Karin de Visser: ‘Our study shows that the genetic make-up of tumours has a major impact on the immune system and on the spread of breast cancer. These insights lay the foundation for the future development of new forms of immunotherapy that focus on the DNA code of tumours of individual breast cancer patients.’
Max D. Wellenstein et al., ‘Loss of p53 triggers Wnt-dependent systemic inflammation to drive metastasis of breast cancer’, Nature, 31 July 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1450-6.