Heparin-like compounds inhibit breast cancer metastasis to bone
These findings were published on the Molecular Cancer Research journal website on 20th April 2012.
The researchers at VTT used RNA interference-based screening in breast cancer cells and found that an enzyme that modifies heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans, HS6ST2, is an important regulator of breast cancer cell-bone interactions. Heparin, which is commonly used as an anticoagulant, also inhibited this regulatory mechanism.
Experiments in a mouse model of breast cancer bone metastasis indicated that heparin-like compounds decreased bone destruction and tumor growth in bone. One of these heparin-like compounds, developed by Biotie Therapies, has a significantly reduced anticoagulant activity as compared to heparin, which improves its applicability as a potential cancer therapeutic agent.
Breast cancer that has metastasized to bone is currently an incurable disease, causing significant morbidity and mortality.