Work Led by Komen-Funded Young Investigator Reveals More about Role of RAGE in Breast Cancer Metastasis

A research grant awarded by Susan G. Komen in 2015 is breaking new ground in the understanding of metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Barry I. Hudson, cancer researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System), and team found that blocking expression of Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (RAGE) in breast cancer cells led to a decrease in the cells’ ability to invade surrounding tissue. They also showed in both human metastatic-research-breakthroughcells and mouse models that blocking RAGE decreased tumor growth and reduced tumor angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels). In addition, blocking RAGE also reduced the recruitment of inflammatory cells and dramatically decreased metastasis to both the lungs and liver in mouse models of breast cancer.

These data demonstrate that RAGE drives tumor progression and metastasis, and may represent a novel target for the development of new therapies for metastatic breast cancer.

“To achieve our organization’s new Bold Goal to decrease the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. over the next decade, we need significant breakthroughs in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The work of Dr. Hudson and his team is an important step to take on the form of the disease that claims 40,000 lives annually,” said Komen President and CEO Dr. Judy Salerno.

“These significant findings also underscore the need for continuous support of research funding for young investigators hoping to launch a career in breast cancer research, like Dr. Hudson, who received a Career Catalyst Research grant last year. The next generation of breast cancer researchers will be the ones to bring us the cures, and we must ensure they are able to pursue their work,” Dr. Salerno added.

Komen recently announced $32.7 million in new research funding, nearly 40 percent of which is focused on metastatic research. To date, the organization has invested more than $166 million in over 400 research grants and more than 40 clinical trials focused on metastatic breast cancer.

Read more about the new findings in Oncogene.