For metastasis, accessibility matters

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Science  05 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6299, pp. 554-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6299.554-d

Each year, over 200,000 people die of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). These tumors grow aggressively, and most patients are diagnosed after metastasis has already occurred. Denny et al. explored potential mechanisms driving metastasis of SCLC by studying a mouse model of the human disease. They conclude that primary tumor cells acquire a propensity to metastasize at least in part through large-scale remodeling of their chromatin state. The experiments revealed a large increase in chromatin accessibility in liver metastases compared with primary SCLC cells. This change correlated with increased expression of a transcription factor called NFIB, and binding sites for NFIB were enriched in the open regions of chromatin. Conceivably, these regions could help pinpoint genes required for metastasis.

Cell 166, 328 (2016).

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