Versican—a protein involved in cancer cell migration—is a driver of lung metastasis in bladder cancer, Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, and associates reported online ahead of print in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

High levels of versican are associated with poor prognosis in patients with bladder cancer, and Dr. Theodorescu’s team found that another protein, RhoGDI2, reduced the expression of versican and suppressed lung metastasis.

Further analysis indicated that RhoGDI2 suppressed metastasis by altering inflammation in the tumor microenvironment. The investigators also discovered that versican’s ability to attract the macrophages that help cancer cells to thrive and metastasis to occur relies on a third protein, CCL2. Drugs that inhibit this protein are already in clinical trials for other conditions.

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