Some individuals supplement their diet with antioxidants to try to ensure that they maintain their health and prevent disease.

A key target of antioxidants is reactive oxygen species (ROS), which have been linked to tumor development and progression. A team of researchers — led by Xiaojiang Cui, at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica; Ning-Hui Cheng, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; and Ning Zhang, at Tianjin Medical University, China — have now determined that the protein TXNL2 helps protect human breast cancer cells from high levels of ROS.

Of interest, knocking down TXNL2 levels in human breast cancer cells inhibited their ability to form tumors upon transplantation into mice. Furthermore, enhanced TXNL2 expression in primary breast cancer samples correlated with cancer spread to the lung and brain and with decreased survival. The authors therefore suggest that TXNL2 could be a new therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation