Researchers have identified four breast cancer genes that work in tandem to spread the cancer to the lungs, providing an inside-look at how some tumor cells likely interact with normal cells to produce cancer, according to a report appearing in this week's Nature. By knocking down these four genes alone or in combination in mice, Joan Massagué's group at Memorial Sloan - Kettering Cancer Center found that the genes were involved in tumor angiogenesis, the spread of tumor cells throughout the circulatory system, and the successful invasion of tumor cells into lung parenchyma. "What we've discovered is that this set of four genes synergistically enables tumor cells to communicate with endothelial cells during cancer progression," first author Gaorav Gupta, at Memorial Sloan Kettering, told The Scientist.The four genes tested in this study are EREG, a growth factor gene; MMP1 and MMP2, two matrix remodeling proteinases; and COX2, which...

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