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Leukemia drug reverses tamoxifen-resistance in breast cancer cells
Date:8/1/2011

rding to Michael P. Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center.

"The fibroblasts are what make ER (+) cancer cells resistant to the tamoxifen," said Dr. Lisanti. "But the tamoxifen plus dasatinib maintained both fibroblasts and cancer cells in a 'glycolytic state,' with minimal oxidative stress and more cell death, most likely because of an absence of metabolic coupling. The supply between the two was cut."

"This suggests resistance to chemotherapeutic agents is a metabolic and stromal phenomenal," he added.

Researchers showed that ER (+) cancer cells alone responded to tamoxifen but when co-cultured with human fibroblasts had little to no effect. Similarly, dasatinib, a chemotherapy drug used to treat leukemia patients who can no longer benefit from other medications, had no effect on fibroblasts alone or cancer cells. Together, however, the drugs prevented the cancer cells co-cultured with the fibroblasts from using high-energy nutrients from the fibroblasts.

This combination resulted in nearly 80 percent cell death, the team reporteda two to three fold increase when compared with tamoxifen alone.

"The drugs have no effect when they are used aloneit's in unison when they effectively kill the cancer cells in the presence of fibroblasts," said Dr. Lisanti. "This opens up the door for possible new treatment strategies. This 'synthetic lethality' may help patients overcome resistance in the clinic."


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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@jefferson.edu
215-512-1783
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert  

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