News Release

Subpopulations of AIB1-expressing breast cancer cells enable invasion and metastasis

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Impact Journals LLC

Figure 1

image: Figure 1: Graphical representation of AIB1Δ4 enabling DCIS invasion and metastasis. view more 

Credit: 2023 Kiliti et al.

“The data in this paper suggest that even a small subpopulation of AIB1Δ4- expressing cells can enable cell invasion [...]” 

BUFFALO, NY- September 6, 2023 – A new editorial paper was published in Oncotarget's Volume 14 on August 30, 2023, entitled, “Subpopulations of AIB1 isoform-expressing breast cancer cells enable invasion and metastasis.”

In their new editorial, researchers Amber J. Kiliti, Ghada M. Sharif, Anton Wellstein, and Anna T. Riegel from Georgetown University Medical Center discuss potential mechanisms of breast cancer invasion and metastasis. Genetic and epigenetic events drive individual tumor cells to proliferate and expand into a heterogeneous mixture of cells that evade immune surveillance, acquire the ability to invade the vasculature and spread as metastatic seeds to distant sites. Organ metastasis contributes to more than 90% of all cancer-related deaths. 

“The model of Darwinian evolution explains the stepwise selection of cancer cells capable of invasion and metastatic spread and an extensive body of work supports that cancer cell-autonomous features match the selected cancer cell ‘seed’ with the appropriate ‘soil’ of the target organ.”

However, this concept was challenged in a recent paper in Cancer Research. Sharif et al. observed that a subclonal population of cells in a heterogeneous tumor can significantly alter the growth characteristics, invasiveness and metastasis of an entire tumor through cell-cell crosstalk. These functionally relevant cell subpopulations are difficult to detect through bulk analysis though their presence may influence disease outcome and efficacy of treatments. 

“In their paper, Sharif et al. detailed how expression of a splice isoform of the transcriptional coregulator and oncogene Amplified In Breast Cancer 1 (AIB1) in a small subpopulation of cells can lead to increased tumor growth and invasion of surrounding tissues by ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) cells.”

Read the full editorial: DOI: 

Correspondence to: Anna T. Riegel


Keywords: AIB1, AIB1Δ4, breast cancer, invasion, metastasis


About Oncotarget: Oncotarget (a primarily oncology-focused, peer-reviewed, open access journal) aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review; eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology, cancer research and biomedical sciences; and foster application of basic and clinical science.

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