BioMediTech Research Groups

Cancer Genomics

Group Leader: Professor Anne Kallioniemi

anne.kallioniemi(at)uta.fi

About Us

The Cancer Genomics group aims to uncover genetic and biological factors that intimately contribute to the development and progression of cancer, especially breast and pancreatic cancers. The ultimate goal is to identify factors that can be utilized in the clinical management of cancer patients either as diagnostic or prognostic markers or as targets of therapy.

Research interests and expertise

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a group of growth factors that are important players during development but also contribute to cancer formation and progression. We are particularly interested in studying the role of BMP4 in the regulation of the behavior of breast cancer cells. We use both in vitro and in vivo models to assess the function of BMP4 in controlling the proliferation and migration / invasion capability of cancer cells. High-throughput genomic methods are used to identify target genes whose expression is regulated by BMP4 and the specific transcription factors that mediate these responses. In addition, large breast cancer patient materials are used to assess the clinical relevance of BMP4 as well as other components of the signaling pathway.

Our second research area focuses on nucleocytoplasmic transport, which is central to the function of eukaryotic cells. Defects in nuclear import result in incorrect localization of proteins subsequently leading to various diseases including cancer. We are especially interested in the role of karyopherin alpha 7 (KPNA7) and its cargo proteins in the regulation of cancer cell associated phenotypes, mainly the control of cancer cell growth.

Collaboration offer and requests

We are willing to share our expertise in various in vitro cell culture assay technologies (both 2D and 3D models). We also have access to a large well-characterized breast tumor collection that can be used e.g. for assessing the relevance of new potential clinical markers. We are interested in collaborating with researchers working on various aspects of the bone morphogenetic protein pathway in cancer cells as well as on the regulation of nuclear transfer and nuclear morphology.

Major Publications

  1. Alarmo E-L, Huhtala H, Korhonen T, Pylkkänen L, Holli K, Kuukasjärvi T, Parkkila S, Kallioniemi A. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 expression in multiple normal and tumor tissues reveals its importance beyond development. Modern Pathology, 26:10-21, 2013.
  2. Laurila E, Vuorinen EM, Savinainen K, Rauhala HE, Kallioniemi A. KPNA7, a nuclear transport receptor, promotes malignant properties of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. Exp Cell Res, 322:159-167, 2014.
  3. Ampuja M, Alarmo E-L, Owens P, Havunen R, Gorska AE, Moses HL, Kallioniemi A. The impact of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) on breast cancer metastasis in a mouse xenograft model. Cancer Letters, 375:238-244, 2016.
  4. Ampuja M, Rantapero T, Rodríguez Martínez A, Palmroth M, Alarmo EL, Nykter M, Kallioniemi A. Integrated RNA-seq and DNase-seq analyses identify phenotype-specific BMP4 signaling in breast cancer. BMC Genomics, 18:68, 2017.
  5. Vuorinen EM, Rajala NK, Rauhala HE, Nurminen AT, Hytönen VP, Kallioniemi A. Search for KPNA7 cargo proteins in human cells reveals MVP and ZNF414 as novel regulators of cancer cell growth. BBA Molecular Basis of Disease, 1863:211-219, 2017.
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