Huiping Liu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathologyhliu@case.edu 216.368.1047 (o)
Member, Molecular Oncology Program
Metastasis causes 90% of the mortality associated with solid tumors, such as breast cancer. Cancer metastasis is a multi-step process of cancer cell migration from the primary tumor sites to the distant secondary tumor sites. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying metastasis remain poorly understood and no effective approaches are available to cure metastasis. The goals of the Liu laboratory are to control metastasis and eliminate the mortality associated with breast cancer and other types of cancer.
The identification of cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of cancer cells with stem cell properties, has brought us a new perspective on cancer, including leukemia and solid tumors. CSCs are proposed to mediate cancer relapse and metastasis due to their resistance to conventional therapies. Dr. Liu’s previous work has demonstrated that breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) are able to mediate spontaneous lung metastases in human-in-mouse xenograft models. Her work has identified that miR-30c is a direct target of GATA3 in regulating both invasion and chemo-resistance, through targeting TWF1 and VIM (Nat Commu 2013, BRCT 2013) (Figure 1). Nevertheless, complete understanding, efficient imaging, effective targeting, and strategic differentiation of CSCs are among the most challenging tasks in cancer treatment.