BCR: Targeting Collagen XIII Protein Is Expected to Successfully Treat Breast Cancer Metastasis

Recently, researchers from the University of Kentucky found that targeting a protein called collagen XIII  may effectively inhibit the metastasis of breast cancer. And the article related was published on Breast Cancer Research.


Breast cancer begins in epithelial cells, cells that are arranged in organs and tissues of the body. In general, most of the epithelial cells die when detached from the extracellular matrix. This type of programmed cell death is called anoikis. However, metastatic cancer cells are tolerant to anoikis, which promotes their circulation in the body and begins to grow in other organs.



In the article, the researchers elucidated the key role of collagen XIII in the progression of breast cancer, which promotes cancer metastasis because it enhances cancer cell tolerance to anoikis. The researchers found that the expression of collagen XIII protein is higher in cancerous human breast tissue than in normal breast tissue. In mouse models, collagen XIII expression is critical for breast cancer metastasis.


Researcher Professor Ren Xu said understanding the proliferation mechanisms of these cancer cells and how they colonize distant organs is critical to developing new strategies to inhibit cancer progression and improve cancer therapy. Cancer metastasis is directly related to 90% of breast cancer-related deaths, although breast cancer can be effectively treated at an early stage, but once the disease progresses, and it spreads to other organs in the body, then there would be little hope.


Many patients currently receive a series of treatments to inhibit tumor growth, improve disease symptoms, and prolong life. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that targeting collagen XIII may help researchers develop new strategies to combat breast cancer metastasis.




Hui Zhang, Tricia Fredericks, Gaofeng Xiong, et al.  Membrane associated collagen XIII promotes cancer metastasis and enhances anoikis resistance, Breast Cancer Research (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s13058-018-1030-y

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