IGF-1-regulated Mitochondrial Protein PNC1 as a marker of breast cancer invasiveness

Key Information

Researcher: 
Cancer type: 
Breast
Research Institution: 
UCC
Grant Amount: 
€139,540
Start date: 
October 1, 2012
End date: 
September 30, 2016

Scientific Project Abstract

One of the major problems with cancer treatment is controlling and preventing the spread of cancer to other tissues, termed invasiveness. Breast cancer may present in one of three ways 1) as a locally contained tumour that does not invade, 2) as a tumour that is already invasive, 3) as a locally contained tumour that has the potential to become invasive following therapy. Early and accurate detection of the potential for invasiveness in breast cancer is very important as the choice of therapy must aim to eliminate invasive cells, while minimising the risk of developing invasiveness later. This can arise when non-invasive cells are damaged by treatment, but not killed. Research has indicated that damage to cell's mitochondria (the factories that produce energy from digestion of food and produce key building blocks for cells to grow) can cause non-invasive cancer cells to become invasive. We have identified a protein called PNC1 which may act as a marker for mitochondrial damage and the potential for breast cancer cells to become invasive. We aim to test how well PNC1 may act as such an invasiveness marker in breast cancer.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Identifying molecules which may be used as indicators of breast cancer aggresiveness
What this project involves: 

Breast cancer cells may acquire the ability to invade to other organs in the body if they are not successfully killed by initial drug treatments. Early and accurate detection of the potential for invasiveness in breast cancer is very important as the choice of therapy must aim to eliminate invasive cells, while minimising the risk of developing invasiveness later. This project aims to characterise a protein called PNC1 as a marker for identifying invasive breast cancer tumours, as well as assessing the likelihood of invasive breast cancer developing following treatment.