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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2012, Article ID 670632, 7 pages
Review Article

Bromodomain-Containing Protein 4: A Dynamic Regulator of Breast Cancer Metastasis through Modulation of the Extracellular Matrix

Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 27 July 2011; Revised 16 September 2011; Accepted 17 September 2011

Academic Editor: Douglas R. Hurst

Copyright © 2012 Jude Alsarraj and Kent W. Hunter. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metastasis is an extremely complex process that accounts for most cancer-related deaths. Malignant primary tumors can be removed surgically, but the cells that migrate, invade, and proliferate at distant organs are often the cells that prove most difficult to target therapeutically. There is growing evidence that host factors outside of the primary tumors are of major importance in the development of metastasis. Recently, we have shown that the bromodomain-containing protein 4 or bromodomain 4 (Brd4) functions as an inherited susceptibility gene for breast cancer progression and metastasis. In this paper, we will discuss that host genetic background on which a tumor arises can significantly alter the biology of the subsequent metastatic disease, and we will focus on the role of Brd4 in regulating metastasis susceptibility.