Edinburgh Cancer Research

Kindlin-1 regulates mammary tumour metastasis

A study led by Professor Valerie Brunton from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre demonstrated that Kindlin-1 promotes pulmonary breast cancer metastasis: March 2018

Mammograms showing a normal breast (left) and a breast with cancer (right, white arrows). [Attribution: By Bakerstmd - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Breast cancer represents one of the most common cancer types in modern society. Around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year - that is around 150 people a day! The risk of breast cancer can be affected by age, family history and lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking. There has been significant progress in the treatment of breast cancer over the past decades, however many people still die due to breast cancer metastases to the lungs, brain, bone or other places. Therefore it is very important to understand molecular mechanisms involved in breast cancer metastasis and this type of investigations are performed at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. 

In a recent study by Sarvi et al. entitled “Kindlin-1 promotes pulmonary breast cancer metastasis”, published in Cancer Research – a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, a team led by Prof Valerie Brunton from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre provided important new insights into how Kindlin-1, a cytoskeletal adaptor protein that is often up-regulated in cancer cells, contributes to pulmonary metastasis of breast cancer.

The team discovered that in a mouse model of mammary tumourigenesis, loss of Kindlin-1 reduced early pulmonary arrest and later development of lung metastasis. This phenotype relied on the ability of Kindlin-1 to bind and activate β-integrin heterodimers (β-integrins are proteins involved in cell adhesion). Kindlin-1 loss also resulted in reduced secretion of several factors linked to metastatic spread, including the lung metastasis regulator tenascin-C.


Val Brunton’s Group web page: https://www.ed.ac.uk/cancer-centre/research/brunton-group

Article in Cancer Research: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2018/01/12/0008-5472.CAN-17-1518 (DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1518)

General information about breast cancer:  http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/breast-cancer

General information about cancer metastasis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastasis