MAY 23, 2018 1:10 AM PDT

Potential Treatment for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin


Recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation examined the drug Dacogen (decitabine), which was observed to target the growth of cancer and was effective in treating tumors resistant to chemotherapy. The Food and Drug Administration has approved decitabine for treating bone marrow and blood cancers

“Patients whose tumor does not respond well to chemotherapy are known to be at significantly increased risk of recurrent breast cancer and death,” expalins Judy Boughey, MD, a general surgeon at the Cancer Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Therefore, our focus is to identify new treatment options for these patients.”

 

 

Breast cancer is responsible for 30 percent of new cancer diagnoses in women in the United States each year. About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. The majority of breast cancers are invasive, which means that the cancer spreads and grows in healthy tissues. This is in comparison to noninvasive breast cancers which remain in the lobules or the milk ducts.

For triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the National Breast Cancer Foundation describes this particular cancer as the cells of the tumor that do not include the three most common forms of receptors, which is the HER-2 receptor, estrogen receptors, and progesterone receptors.

Investigators have been studying the potential use for decitabine in solid tumors, however the results are more encouraging than previous trials, exapalisn Cynthia Zahnow, PhD, an associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We [researchers at Johns Hopkins] published a paper back in 2012 showing that these low doses of these drugs do have an effect in cancer tumors,” she explains, referencing a study published in March 2012 in the journal Cancer Cell.

The study suggested that the therapy could create an anti-tumor “memory” response, and inhibit growth of cancer stem-like cells. In the Mayo research study, the researchers used living xenografts (tissue from breast tumor cells). They found that decitabine can remarkably inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancers, however, the response was dependent on the presence of certain critical proteins known as DNA methyl transferase proteins (DNMT), which are present in a certain subset of triple-negative breast cancers.

“If researchers can truly select patients that have high levels of DNMT and show that these drugs are more effective in them, that’s a fantastic discovery,” notes Dr. Zahnow.

Sources: Journal of Clinical Investigation

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 30, 2020
Microbiology
Common Antibiotic Could be Effective Zika Treatment
NOV 30, 2020
Common Antibiotic Could be Effective Zika Treatment
Zika virus cause a devastating epidemic in 2015, and led to the birth of hundreds of children that had congenital brain ...
DEC 04, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
OTC Drug Found Safe for Multiple Myeloma
DEC 04, 2020
OTC Drug Found Safe for Multiple Myeloma
Injecting the immune-boosting drug ‘teclistamab’ was found to be safe and effective in patients with relapse ...
DEC 08, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Powerful Antibiotic Targets Mycobacterium
DEC 08, 2020
Powerful Antibiotic Targets Mycobacterium
Mycobacterium abscessus is a pathogenic bacterium know to cause tuberculosis and leprosy. Researchers at Johns Hopkins U ...
JAN 16, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Discover Contents of an Ancient Mayan Drug Containers
JAN 16, 2021
Scientists Discover Contents of an Ancient Mayan Drug Containers
Washington State University researchers found a non-tobacco plant in containers of an ancient Maya drug. "While it ...
JAN 10, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
New Treatment for Botulism
JAN 10, 2021
New Treatment for Botulism
Researchers discover a new way to reverse botulism which can often lead to paralysis. Botulism is caused by the most pot ...
FEB 22, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Screening Macrocyclic Peptides
FEB 22, 2021
Screening Macrocyclic Peptides
Macrocyclic peptides are promising for pharmaceuticals for cancer—however, screening for them is challenging. Find ...
Loading Comments...