Laboratory for Molecular Gynecology

Prof. Dr.
rer. nat. Carsten Gründker
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Mol-Gyn Lab






Central Units

Dept. Gynecology

Univ. Medical Center








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Cancer Metastasis

Part I

The crosstalk between metastatic cancer cells and target sites is critical for the development and progression of metastases. Disruption of this interaction will allow to design mechanism-based effective and specific therapeutic interventions for metastases. We have established a co-culture system of cells derived from different tumor entities and MG63 human osteoblast-like cells to analyze tumor cell invasion. We could show that  cancer cell invasion was dramatically increased when cocultured with hOB or MG63. We use this in vitro model to examine the influence of various pharmaceuticals on migration and invasion of the tumor cells on cellular as well as molecular level.
Using a real-time PCR method based on detection of human-specific alu sequences measuring accurately the amount of human tumor DNA in athymic mouse organs we analyze metastasis formation in vivo.

Part II

Epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) is a cellular development program characterized by loss of cell adhesion and increased cell mobility. It is essential for numerous processes including metastasis. We have generated “aggressive” MCF-7 breast cancer cells (MCF-7-EMT), which show significantly increased invasion in contrast to wild type MCF-7 (MCF-7 WT) cells. In addition, MCF-7-EMT cells differ in their metastatic behavior in vivo and in expression of invasion and/or EMT relevant genes. With the breast cancer cell lines MCF-7-EMT and MCF-7 WT cells we have an excellent model of cells for further studies of EMT and invasion in vitro and in vivo.

Part III

Role of  S100A4, CYR61, RhoA, and RhoC signaling in EMT and metastasis of breast cancer.



  • Part I: Deutsche Krebshilfe - Dr. Mildred Scheel Stiftung, approved on 05/15/2006 for 3 years: Influence of GnRH analogs on bone-directed metastasis of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

  • Part II: Deutsche Krebshilfe - Dr. Mildred Scheel Stiftung, approved on 04/17/2009 for 3 years: Effects of gene products of the metastasis-suppressor-gene KISS1 on proliferation, metastasis and gene expression of breast cancers in vitro and in vivo.

  • Part III: Deutsche Krebshilfe - Dr. Mildred Scheel Stiftung, approved on 09/16/2016 for 3 years: Signaling pathways of cell invasion as target for the therapy of metastatic breast cancer.
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