UC Davis breast cancer researchers report new insights into ductal carcinoma in situ

n their work in MIN, DCIS and invasive mammary cancer in mice.

Kermit L Carraway III, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis Cancer Center, reported his research into the role of a substance known as Nrdp1 in the path toward malignancy. Carraway's team discovered that when mouse and human breast cancer cells have excess Nrdp1, the levels of a growth factor known as ErbB3 drop, inhibiting the cancer cells' growth and motility. The same happens in mouse breast cancer cells with excess ErbB2. The growth factor ErbB2 is the mouse counterpart of the human growth factor HER2, which is implicated in a quarter of human breast cancers. The findings suggest Nrdp1 may have a role in the treatment of HER2-positive human breast cancers.

A second team reported that the seemingly inexorable progression of MIN cells towards mammary cancer could be halted in some cases. The team, led by Lawrence Young, a senior research associate in the Center for Comparative Medicine, and Jeff Gregg, an associate professor of pathology, found that the antibiotic rapamycin quickly induced apoptosis, or rapid cell death, in some but not all MIN cell lines. The researchers' next step will be to use micro-array genetic analysis to determine which genes were expressed in the surviving malignant cells. Such genes could be promising targets for drug development.

A third team presented work suggesting that diuretics may have therapeutic potential in DCIS. Steven Anderson, an associate researcher in physiology and membrane biology, and Peter Cala, professor and chair of physiology and membrane biology, have conducted specializing imaging studies to demonstrate that MIN cells rely on a molecule known as the sodium/hydrogen exchanger to maintain a favorable pH balance within the milk ducts. Diuretics inhibit sodium/hydrogen exchange, resulting in an acidic micro-environment that is lethal to cancer cells.

"This study has potential to p

Contact: Claudia Morain
University of California, Davis - Health System

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