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Key metabolic pathway implicated in intractable form of breast cancer
Date:7/18/2011

ism rather than in a Petri dish's artificial environment. During the screen Possemato and colleagues identified PHGDH, which is overexpressed in approximately 70% of ER-negative breast cancer patients, as essential to tumor growth. The PHGDH protein is one of three enzymes involved in the metabolic serine biosynthesis pathway. Cancer cells alter their metabolism in the interest of sustaining rapid growth, and high levels of PHGDH appear to drive such metabolic change. When Possemato suppressed PHGDH protein production in breast cancer cell lines with elevated levels of it, the cells stopped proliferating.

The findings suggest that PHGDH may represent a promising target for drug development for ER-negative breast cancer.

"We do think this has some therapeutic relevance, where an inhibitors of this enzyme would have effects on the cells we identified that tend to overexpress this enzyme," says Sabatini, who is also a biology professor at MIT. "By RNAi, we've provided proof of principle, but whether a drug against this protein would be valuable remains to be determined."


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Contact: Nicole Giese
giese@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Source:Eurekalert

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