Navigation Links
Novel technique switches triple-negative breast cancer cells to hormone-receptor positive cells

Within many hormone-receptor positive breast cancers lives a subpopulation of receptor-negative cells knock down the hormone-receptor positive cells with anti-estrogen drugs and you may inadvertently promote tumor takeover by more dangerous, receptor-negative cells. A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes how to switch these receptor-negative cells back to a state that can be targeted by existing hormone therapies.

"We found that these estrogen-receptor negative cells express high levels of a Notch receptor protein," says James Haughian, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "And when you blockade this Notch activity, you end up with a pure population of hormone-receptor positive cells."

Very basically, within a breast cancer, you frequently have different kinds of cells living together some that have estrogen receptors and so need to "grab" estrogen in order to survive, grow and replicate. And, Haughian finds, some with similar Notch receptors that need to "grab" Notch proteins in order to survive, grow and replicate. On these cells without estrogen receptors but with Notch receptors, blockade this Notch pathway and the cell again becomes dependent on estrogen and thus likely treatable with anti-estrogen therapies.

"It's rare to get something that works so fantastically well as this," Haughian says.

Whether this switch from hormone-insensitive to hormone-sensitive is due to basic evolution killing the triple-negative cells leaves more resources for the growth of hormone-receptor positive cells or whether inhibiting Notch signaling, in fact, causes triple-negative cells to grow hormone receptors is still under investigation.

Whatever the precise mechanism, drugs that inhibit this Notch activity are already in clinical trials for breast cancer. However, Kathryn Horwitz, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine theorizes that, "monotherapy with a Notch inhibitor might not be enough on its own, but may convert the cancer into a hormone-therapy treatable state."

This finding that Notch inhibition converts a triple-negative cancer subpopulation to a hormone-receptor positive population implies the potential usefulness of combination therapy perhaps a Notch inhibitor to make all the cancer's cells hormone-sensitive, followed by an anti-estrogen to treat them.

"Theorizing that and proving it is another matter," Horwitz says. "But if a clinician came knocking on our door, we'd say hey, let's try it."

Contact: Garth Sundem
University of Colorado Denver

Related biology news :

1. The Michael J. Fox Foundation awards nearly $200,000 to develop novel drugs for Parkinsons disease
2. Novel technique uses RNA interference to block inflammation
3. La Jolla Institute discovers novel mechanism for preventing infection via bodys mucosal borders
4. Novel drug combination offers therapeutic promise for hard-to-treat cancers
5. Novel approach scores first success against elusive cancer gene
6. Novel method for increasing antibiotic yields
7. Tropical coral could be used to create novel sunscreens for human use, say scientists
8. A novel mechanism that regulates pro-inflammatory cells is identified
9. Novel analysis by Allen Institute sheds new light on the mechanisms of brain development
10. Novel gene increases yeasts appetite for plant sugars
11. Life scientists use novel technique to produce genetic map for African Americans
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/20/2016)...  VoiceIt is excited to announce its new ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer ... take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration ... usability. Both ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announces the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention ... recruitment and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: