WEILL CORNELL MEDICINE – A protein that breast, lung and other cancers use to promote their spread—or metastasis—to the brain, has been identified by a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian investigators. The protein, CEMIP, will now be a focus of efforts to predict, prevent and treat brain metastases, which are a frequent cause of cancer deaths.
In their study, published Nov. 4 in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists found that CEMIP prompts blood vessel and resident immune cells in the brain to produce inflammatory molecules, which in turn support the survival and progression of cancer cells to form brain tumors. In lab-dish and animal-model experiments, removing CEMIP greatly impeded this brain metastasis process. In tests on human patients’ breast and lung tumors, the researchers linked high CEMIP levels to a high risk of metastasis to the brain.