Vadivel Ganapathy, PhD., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received a 3-year, $562,500 grant from the Department of Defense for Homocysteine Is an Oncometabolite in Breast Cancer, Which Promotes Tumor Progression and Metastasis.
This project is related to the potential association between homocysteine and breast cancer. The hypothesis in this project is that homocysteine is an “oncometabolite,” which promotes the progression and metastasis of breast cancer. The focus of the project is to employ mouse models of hyperhomocysteinemia to elucidate the relevance of elevated levels of homocysteine to the progression and metastasis of breast cancer. This project has direct clinical relevance to humans because elevation of circulating levels of homocysteine is quite prevalent in the US population due to mutations in the gene coding for the enzyme methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase. It is likely that outcomes of breast cancer, in terms of the aggressiveness of tumor growth as well as metastasis, might be significantly facilitated in individuals with hyperhomocysteinemia. These findings have substantial clinical and therapeutic impact in breast cancer therapy because if the role of homocysteine in breast cancer growth is established, strategies to decrease circulating levels of homocysteine (e.g., nutritional supplementation of methytetrahydrofolate) would benefit the breast cancer patients.