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"EPCR: a new suspect in breast cancer".

This receptor promotes the training of the tumor and its metastasis to bone and lung, according to a study by Naiara Perurena, researcher at CIMA of the University of Navarra.

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PHOTO: Manuel Castells
02/06/15 15:23

"EPCR receptor is a new suspect in breast cancer," says Naiara Perurenascientist of the research center Applied Medicine (CIMA) of the University of Navarra. The Navarre researcher has been awarded in an international congress held in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) by the scientific societies IBMS (International Bone and Mineral Society) and ECTS credit (European Calcified Tissue Society).

The award-winning work identifies EPCR as a novel gene involved in the development of the breast cancerThe disease is diagnosed annually in 500,000 women in Europe. "A previous study of our laboratory, led by the Dr. Fernando Lecandahad identified its involvement in metastasis in lung cancer. In this work we demonstrate that it is also used by breast tumor cells to facilitate their dissemination to the bone and lung, producing secondary tumors in these organs (metastasis), which has an impact on patient survival," says Naiara Perurena.

The award-winning study uses several rodent models of breast cancer and patient samples. "We analyzed EPCR expression in 286 breast cancer patients and found that patients with high levels of this receptor have a worse prognosis," explains Naiara Perurena.

Having analyzed these data, researchers at CIMA will now focus on studying the mechanisms involved in the tumorigenic effect of EPCR. "The EPCR receptor normally has an anticoagulant function. If it is shown that the mechanisms by which it acts in a deleterious way are different from those of its physiological function, we will be able to design a molecule that blocks its activity and prevents the development of the tumor and metastases. In this way, EPCR could be a new therapeutic target for these types of cancer".