The UC San Diego School of Medicine announced Monday the results of two studies on breast cancer, one that could lead to better predictions of outcomes, and the other showing that fasting at night could lower the risk of getting the disease.
A study published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, researchers discovered how tumors that feel stiffer to the touch also lead to the invasion of cancer cells of nearby areas of the body — called metastasis — and a worse prognosis for the patient.
The researchers at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center found that a high degree of stiffness causes a protein called TWIST1 to break away from its anchor, the protein G3BP2.
TWIST1 then moves to the nucleus of the cell and activates genes that enable breast cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue and metastasize to other places in the body.
Analysis of breast cancer patient samples showed that patients with stiffer tumors, which had more organized collagen structures, did not survive as long as patients with more compliant tumors with disorganized collagen.
Patients with both low G3BP2 and stiffer tumors had even shorter survival times.
The correlations were so clear the team could use those factors — G3BP2 protein levels and collagen organization — to predict patient outcome, the scientists said.
In the other study, researchers said women who spent less time eating at night might have a lower risk of breast cancer.
“Increasing the duration of overnight fasting could be a novel strategy to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer,” said Catherine Marinac, a UC San Diego doctoral candidate. “This is a simple dietary change that we believe most women can understand and adopt.”
Women who fast overnight have better control over their glucose levels and a lower breast cancer risk, according to the study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The study on the stiffness of tumors included researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Program, American Cancer Society, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation and Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale of Paris.
The fasting study included researchers from San Diego State University, and was funded by the National Cancer Institute-sponsored Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, the NCI Centers for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer and philanthropist Carol Vassiliadis and family.
— City News Service
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