A cell membrane protein causes metastasis in a severe childhood cancer

The work, published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Research American, links the caveolin-1, a protein in the membrane of cells, with metastatic Ewing sarcoma. This is a very aggressive disease characterized by early metastases, which mainly affects children and youth people. The cure rates are very low.

The study shows that caveolin-1 has a fundamental role in regulating the ability of tumour cells to migrate, invade the extracellular matrix (the medium where the cells are) and colonizer distant organs like lungs. This is the first study on the role of caveolin-1 in Ewing’s sarcoma metastasis.

The coordinator of the study, Óscar Martínez-Tirado, head of research group IDIBELL Sarcomas, noted that “the results add significance to the role of caveolin-1 in the biology of Ewing’s sarcoma.” Martínez Tirado adds that “until now we knew its involvement in oncogenesis [malignant transformation process prior to the appearance of a tumour] and its resistance to chemotherapy and now we add its activity in metastasis.” An earlier study published by the same IDIBELL group showed that caveolin-1 is responsible for resistance to chemotherapy developed by Ewing’s sarcoma tumour cells.

This disease is the second most common childhood bone cancer. It represents a two or three percent of all childhood tumours and has an annual incidence of 0.6 cases per million inhabitants. The prognosis is grave. It often spreads to other parts of the body, especially the bone marrow, lungs, kidneys, heart and adrenal gland.

The study published in Molecular Cancer Research opens a path to develop new drugs to prevent metastasis in Ewing’s sarcoma.

The study had the participation of researchers from the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (USA) and the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington (USA).

Paper reference

Miguel Sáinz-Jaspeado*, Laura Lagares-Tena*, Jaime Lasheras*, Fariba Navid, Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, Silvia Mateo-Lozano, Vicente Notario, Xavier Sanjuan*, Xavier Garcia del Muro*, Àngels Fabra* and Oscar M Tirado*. Caveolin-1 modulates the ability of Ewing’s sarcoma to metastasize. Molecular Cancer Research. *Investigadores IDIBELL

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