Aggressive breast cancers: a protein responsible for metastases discovered by researchers: Femme Actuelle Le MAG

More than 61,000 new cases of breast cancer are recorded in France each year, as highlighted by the National Cancer Institute (INCa). It is also the most common and deadliest cancer in women.

Certain forms are particularly aggressive: this is notably the case of triple negative breast cancer, because “it develops quickly and often appears earlier”as explained by Professor Mahasti Saghatchian, oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the American Hospital in Paris, in an interview with Current wife. “Within 3 to 5 years, the risk of recurrence in the breast or with metastases to the rest of the body is significant.she added.

French researchers from the CNRS and American researchers were interested in a protein overexpressed in aggressive breast cancers and made a promising discovery. The latter could help prevent the development of metastases. The results of their study appeared in the magazine Cell Discovery.

SMYD2, a protein overexpressed in aggressive breast cancers

At the origin of this work, an observation: aggressive forms of breast cancer refractory to existing therapies constitute “a major unresolved health problem”, due in particular to metastatic spread, we can read in the study. The researchers were thus interested in a protein overexpressed in aggressive breast cancers: SMYD2.

In a press release, they provide details of their research: “This spread of cancer cells is thought to be due to the SMYD2 protein, which diverts the activity of another protein, BCAR3, to the advantage of the cells. Known to be partly responsible for the adhesion and migratory capacity of cells, the action of BCAR3 is strongly stimulated by SMYD2”. They add that “the development of metastatic cancer cells and their ability to migrate and invade their environment requires the presence, or at least stimulation, of SMYD2”.

Breast cancer: a promising discovery to prevent the appearance of metastases?

As part of this study, they therefore sought to inhibit the SMYD2 protein in mice suffering from primary stage mammary cancer. They found that this blocked the ability of primary tumor cells to metastasize and increased the rodents’ overall survival. “We saw up to ten times fewer metastases developing in the organs around breast cancer in these mice”, detailed Nicolas Reynoird, co-author of this work and CNRS researcher at the University of Grenoble, on Europe 1.

A promising discovery, which constitutes a first step “towards the development of early therapy preventing the development of metastases in breast cancer”note the researchers in their press release. “The hope for patients would be to prevent the appearance of metastases, to have preventive treatment. This would have a huge impact on patient survival”added Nicolas Reynoird on Europe 1. This study having been carried out on mice, one of the next steps is therefore to check if it also works in humans.


  • Cytoskeleton remodeling induced by SMYD2 methyltransferase drives breast cancer metastasis, Cell Discovery, January 31, 2024
  • Treatment of aggressive breast cancer: discovery of a new protein participating in the development of metastases, CNRS, January 31, 2024
  • National Cancer Institute (INCa) – Breast cancer
  • “Preventing the appearance of metastases”, the CNRS makes a crucial discovery to fight against breast cancer, Europe 1, January 31, 2014

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