Abstracts are provided in the language submitted.

"Despite increased awareness and novel therapies in the past 3 decades, cancer has become a leading cause of death globally. While most therapies target proteins that contribute to the uncontrolled proliferation of tumor cells, few drugs prevent tumor spread to vital secondary organs. My lab and others have found a significant correlation between high expression of the transcription factor Kaiso, tumor spread (metastasis), poor prognosis and racial disparities in cancer incidence and mortality in people of African Ancestry. Our research goal is to discern Kaiso’s mechanism of action and role in tumor aggressiveness, spread and poor outcomes in Black people. To begin filling the molecular genetic knowledge gaps underlying Kaiso’s roles in aggressive cancers, we used mouse models that overexpress Kaiso, and found that intestinal-specific Kaiso overexpression induced inflammation that exacerbated polyp formation in a mouse model of colon cancer. Parallel studies of the aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) subtype that disproportionately impacts young Black women using TNBC tissues from Caribbean and Nigerian women revealed that Kaiso is more highly expressed in TNBC tissues from Black women (compared to White women) and significantly correlates with TNBC aggressiveness and poor survival. Importantly, Kaiso depletion attenuated TNBC cell proliferation and metastasis to secondary sites in mice xenografted with TNBC cells. Collectively our findings implicate Kaiso in several hallmarks of cancer (apoptosis, proliferation, tumor-promoting inflammation, tumor metastasis) and disparities in incidence and outcomes, and suggest potential use of Kaiso as a TNBC prognostic biomarker or a druggable target."

Dr. Juliet Daniel