The authors identified high levels of FMRP in human breast cancer tissue microarrays and also examined the effects of FMRP levels in a mouse model to study breast cancer. In these mice, high levels of FMRP in primary breast cancer tumours were also linked to the spread of the cancer to the lungs and the development of secondary metastasis. Conversely, a reduction of FMRP led to a decrease in metastasis. The Fragile X protein seems to bind mRNAs involved in cancer progression and thus modulates metastasis formation.
The researchers suggest that the levels of FMRP might be used as an indicator of aggressive breast cancer and could be used to predict the likelihood of the spread of cancer to other organs like the lung. In the study, the authors found that FMRP levels correlate with the highly aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and has a poor prognosis. It often comes back years after treatment and can spread throughout the body. (© European Molecular Biology Organization EMBO)