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NDRG4 promoter hypermethylation is a mechanistic biomarker associated with metastatic progression in breast cancer patientsEpigenetic silencing of a putative tumor suppressor protein confers a metastatic advantage to breast cancer cells and could serve as a mechanistic biomarker of likely disease spread. Researchers in São Paulo, Brazil, led by Érico Costa from the Molecular Oncology Center of the Hospital Sírio-Libanês, showed that NDRG4 (short for N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 4) is actively expressed in normal breast tissue. But in breast tumors and in tumor cell lines, methyl tags cover the promoter region of the NDRG4-encoding gene, resulting in reduced protein expression, increased tumor size, elevated cell mobility and other molecular features indicative of a more aggressive disease state. The researchers experimentally silenced NDRG4 expression in two non-metastatic breast cancer cell lines and observed changes in the adhesive and migratory properties of cells that promote tumor invasiveness and spread.NEXT ARTICLE
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The development and maintenance of an organism is orchestrated by a set of chemical reactions that switch parts of the genome off and on at strategic times and locations. Epigenetics is the study of these reactions and the factors that influence them. ...