A potential role for KiSS1 overexpression in tumorigenesis and metastasis of breast cancer and other hormonally responsive tumors

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer among women. One in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, and one in 27 will die from the disease. Despite advances in treatment, many women experience metastasis, where the tumor migrates from the original site to other organs or tissues in the body. Leah Prentice is investigating whether the KiSS1 gene has a dual role in breast cancer, which involves increased numbers of the gene driving tumour growth at an early stage, but suppressing metastasis at a later stage. Research indicates KiSS1 prevents metastasis from developing, but it’s unclear how the gene accomplishes this. She is studying the role of the KiSS1 gene in synthesizing and releasing sex hormones like estrogen. Estrogens initially promote the grow th of breast cancers, but this effect is usually lost as the tumor progresses and metastasizes. The research could lead to diagnostic tests to detect breast cancer earlier, and more targeted therapies to treat breast cancer and prevent metastasis.