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Breast Cancer Res. 2001;3(1):5-7. Epub 2000 Nov 2.

Syk: a new player in the field of breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Center in Molecular Toxicology, and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Breast tumor development and progression are thought to occur through a complex, multistep process, including oncogene activation (eg HER2/neu) and mutation or loss of tumor suppressor genes (eg p53). Determining the function of genetic alterations in breast carcinoma tumorigenesis and metastasis has been the focus of intensive research efforts for several decades. One group of proteins that play a critical role in breast cancer cell signaling pathways are tyrosine kinases. Overexpression of the tyrosine kinase HER2/neu is observed in many human breast cancers and is positively correlated with enhanced tumorigenesis. Recently, another tyrosine kinase, Syk, has been implicated as an important inhibitor of breast cancer cell growth and metastasis. This recent finding was unexpected, since Syk function has been predominantly linked to hematopoietic cell signaling, and is discussed further in this commentary.

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