Nav: Home

Can mice really mirror humans when it comes to cancer?

January 18, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- A new Michigan State University study is helping to answer a pressing question among scientists of just how close mice are to people when it comes to researching cancer.

The findings, now published in PLOS Genetics, reveal how mice can actually mimic human breast cancer tissue and its genes, even more so than previously thought, as well as other cancers including lung, oral and esophagus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans next to heart disease.

"Just like human breast cancer, there are many subtypes that can be found in mice," said Eran Andrechek, co-author and physiology professor whose work focuses on the genetic makeup of cancer. "Our work outlines the genetic similarities of the tissue and cells in different types of tumors and shows the strong relationships mice can have to other human cancers too."

Different tumor subtypes can include glandular, which include the mammary glands, as well as squamous, which are very rare and involve epithelial cells that line the inside of the breast.

Andrechek's federally funded study looked at mice containing all subtypes and compared the makeup of the rodent tumors and the way the genes acted, known as gene expression, to human tumor data.

He found that not only did the genes act the same in certain breast cancers but the gene similarities were active in other cancers as well.

"Groups of genes were also being expressed similarly in the lung, oral and esophageal tumors," Andrechek said. "For example, mouse mammary tumors shared a signaling pathway that is found in human lung cancer and controls how cells reproduce and move from one location to another."

Because tumors have distinct genes, the way they act or send signals can help scientists identify and define the specific kind of cancer they're dealing with in hopes of finding the right treatment.

"Our work will help scientists understand in part what makes the various tumors so unique and such a challenge to treat," Andrechek said. "But even more importantly, for patients, our ability to identify the similarities could allow treatments for other cancers like lung to be used for certain breast cancers down the road."
-end-
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Worldwide Cancer Research.

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Michigan State University

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...