New findings says TRIM24 protein plays active role in breast cancer formation

December 13, 2015

Collaboration with MD Anderson's Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, further strengthened the case for TRIM24's role in breast cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. When pathologist Weiya Xia, M.D., screened biopsies of 128 breast cancer patients, she found that TRIM24 was overexpressed in 70 percent. These patients had a median overall survival rate of 50 months, meaning half of them survived at least to that point.

In 30 percent of the women, TRIM24 was either undetectable or expressed at very low levels. In these two groups, the women's breast cancer was non-metastatic, and 90 percent survived to 50 months.

Avenues of future research"We propose that TRIM24 would be a great therapeutic target - the reason being that if you were to eliminate or inactivate TRIM24, you could potentially restart p53 function and decrease estrogen receptor function in breast tumor cells," Barton said. "In the case of ER-negative tumors, you might still have a chance to go for the p53, and in the case of breast cancers that are p53-negative you might still be able to go for the estrogen receptor."

"We're claiming that TRIM24 promotes tumor development," Barton continued, "and now we're trying to actually prove that by using mouse models in which we overexpress TRIM24 in mammary epithelium cells."

Research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation, Sister Institution Fund of China Medical University and Hospital, Starr Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Max Planck Society, and Sowell-Huggins Foundation.

Source: University of Texas