London: Blocking Key Chemical Can Stop Breast Cancer Spreading: Research

22 Feb

Blocking a key chemical can stop breast cancer spreading to other organs, experts have discovered.

Enzyme link to breast cancer spread Enlarge photo
 
Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have found, for the first time, that a particular enzyme is involved in the spread of tumour cells from the breast to other parts of the body.

If experts can successfully block the action of lysyl oxidase-like 2 (LOXL2), then treatments could be developed to stop the spread of breast cancer.

Around 47,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year and around 12,000 die from the disease.

Recent studies have shown that the lifetime risk of the disease for women is now one in eight.

Experts blamed lifestyle factors, including obesity and drinking alcohol, for fuelling the rise.

Women are also more likely to have children later in life and fewer offspring, which influences the risk.

According to lead researcher, Dr Janine Erler, from the ICR, more than 90 per cent of cancer deaths are because the disease has spread to other organs. “Our study shows that inhibiting the action of LOXL2 can significantly reduce the spread of breast cancer, suggesting that drugs which block this enzyme may be effective in preventing patients’ cancer from spreading,” she said.

Researchers also found that high levels of LOXL2 are linked with more aggressive cancer, which results in a poor prognosis for patients.

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