Tumor Progression

The initiation and progression of cancer is a multistep process involving both genetic alterations and changes in tissue microenvironment. These genetic and cellular events result in dysfunction of normal cell growth and differentiation allowing the development of the malignant phenotype. We are investigating the molecular mechanisms which disrupt differentiation, allowing the reestablishment of growth ability, and stromal-tumour cell interactions which then promote this growth and eventual metastasis. The transcriptional regulation of the BRCA1 gene and the possibility that its regulation is involved in sporadic breast cancer is also being studied. As well, growth factors such as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) show increased expression in regions of carcinoma in human breast, compared to surrounding nonmalignant tissue. In vitro studies indicate that establishment of an HGF autocrine loop in breast carcinoma cells is an important step in progression to metastasis. Mechanisms involved in the regulation of HGF expression and function in breast carcinoma cells are being investigated. See personal pages of individual investigators for more detailed information.

Andrew Craig
Cancer metastasis pathways

Bruce E. Elliott
Growth Factors and Cell Adhesion
Molecules in Breast Cancer 

Christopher R. Mueller
Transcription Factors in Growth and Development

Christopher J. Nicol
Involvement of PPAR(gamma) in breast and colon cancer