Cells Lining the Breast Duct Grab Stray Cancer Cells to Prevent Metastasis, Study Shows

Cells Lining the Breast Duct Grab Stray Cancer Cells to Prevent Metastasis, Study Shows
A cell layer lining breast milk ducts called the myoepithelium plays an active and dynamic role in constraining cancer cells and preventing invasive breast cancer, a study shows. The study, “Myoepithelial cells are a dynamic barrier to epithelial dissemination,” was published in the Journal of Cell Biology. Most breast tumors are thought to develop from a group of cells called the luminal epithelial cells that line the inside of the breast milk ducts. Luminal epithelial cells are surrounded by another group of cells collectively called the myoepithelium. The location of tumor cells relative to the myoepithelium dictates the aggressiveness of breast cancers. When the cancer is restricted to the inside of the myoepithelium, it is called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and is less aggressive. When cancer cells escape across the myoepithelium and spread to the surrounding tissue, the cancer is more aggressive and called invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). In fact, the location of tumor cells in relation to the myoepithelium is still the most efficient way to distinguish DCIS from IDC, despite decades of analyzing mutation and gene expression profiles of these tumors. As a result, all the data points to a critical role for the myoepithelium in maintaining tumor cells beneath the myoepithelial layer and implies that a breach in the integrity of myoepithelium is critical for development of IDC. There are two schools of thought on how the myoepithelium works in blocking the escape of cancer ce
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