The link between asparagine and the spread of breast cancer was explored by a multi-center study – published in the journal Nature – that used in vitro and in vivo models of triple-negative breast cancer to expose metastatic drivers.
Among the candidate metastatic drivers evaluated in the study, one stood out—the level of asparagine synthetase expression in a primary tumor. Asparagine synthetase is an enzyme that generates asparagine from aspartate. This finding, from mouse models, was confirmed by an examination of data from breast cancer patients.
Studies have outlined that asparagine is essential for breast cancer spread, and by restricting it, cancer cells stopped invading other parts of the body in mice. So whether a tumor spreads to other parts of the body is dependent on an enzyme called asparagine synthetase.
Our bodies make asparagine, as well as many of the other amino acids that form proteins, and this is one of the enzymes that helps make it. Apparently, the more active this enzyme, the better breast cancer (in this mouse model) is able to spread.
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