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Research Fellows Directory

Xue-Feng Li

Dr Xue-Feng Li

Research Fellow


University of Edinburgh

Research summary

Although the primary breast cancer can be controlled with surgical removal and local irradiation, metastatic diseases remain incurable. It has found that recruitment of macrophages or Ly6C+ inflammatory monocytes is critical to metastatic potential of both human and mouse breast cancer cells. Monocyte/macrophage are important mediators of inflammation in the tumour microenvironment. However, the cellular mechanism of tumour cells response to inflammation and macrophages is largely unknown. Autophagy, a conserved degradation pathway in cells, is considered crucial for a number of functions in tumour cells, including cell metabolism, survival, and migration. It has been reported that inflammation stimuli can induce autophagy to promote migration and invasion of lung cancer cells. Additionally, my previous studies were the first to reveal that activated monocyte in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is able to induce the cancer-cell autophagy to promote cancer cell migration (unpublished data). We believe that autophagy could be a general mechanism linking inflammation with cancer metastasis, which can be targeted to better control the disease. Thus, in this project we hypothesize that macrophages promote breast cancer metastasis by inducing autophagy in cancer cells in both the primary tumour and the metastatic site.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

The role of macrophage-induced cancer cell autophagy in breast cancer metastasis

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Nov 2015 - Oct 2017

Value: £99,000