New treatment option for aggressive triple negative breast cancer discovered
Breast cancer is relatively easy to treat in many cases today, but this does not apply to the so-called triple negative breast cancer, in which the prognosis is usually significantly worse. The use of an inhibitor, which scientists from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and the University Hospital Freiburg have tested in a recent study, offers new hope for those affected.
"Although the prognosis for breast cancer has steadily improved over the past few decades, there is a subgroup with triple negative breast cancer that usually receives a significantly poorer prognosis," said the University of Freiburg. Around 15 percent of patients are affected by this form of breast cancer. In the future, you could possibly be treated with a newly discovered inhibitor that has achieved a very convincing effect in the first attempts. The Freiburg researchers published the results of these experiments in the specialist magazine "Cancer Research".
Often poor prognosis for triple negative breast cancer
The triple negative breast cancer remains very difficult to treat. According to recent knowledge, this is due to the fact that a small population of cells in the tumors maintain their growth. These cells are particularly resistant to chemotherapy drugs and can lead to relapses and the formation of metastases. "They are called cancer stem cells because they have similar properties to normal stem cells in the body," reports the University of Freiburg. In view of the negative properties of cancer stem cells, the search for targeted therapies against these cells has been a focus of recent research, but according to the scientists, only a few models have so far been available for researching cancer stem cells.
Investigations in the cancer stem cell model
The Freiburg researchers at the Center for Translational Cell Research (ZTZ) have developed a model that, without the help of an animal model, allows cancer stem cells to be isolated from tumor material from breast cancer patients. The scientists were able to cultivate several cancer stem cell lines from triple negative breast cancer under special housing conditions, which represent a very good image of their original patient tumor. In this cancer stem cell model, the research group led by Dr. Jochen Maurer from the ZTZ and Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle from the Center for Clinical Research (ZKF) several newly developed epigenetic inhibitors.
Epigenetic inhibitor with a convincing effect
Epigenetic inhibitors start the activity of the genes without changing the DNA itself. The scientists from the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Center for Biological Signaling Studies at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität and Freiburg University Hospital were now able to show. that inhibiting the epigenetic regulator KDM4 with the help of an inhibitor could represent a new treatment option for triple negative breast cancer. A KDM4 inhibitor developed in the USA has proven particularly promising in the tests, the scientists report.
Regarding the therapy against breast cancer stem cells, the inhibitor of the epigenetic regulator KDM4 has shown a very convincing effect, according to the researchers. "In several cancer stem cell lines, the inhibitor was able to block the dangerous properties and specifically eliminate the cells," the scientists write. In addition, a decrease in tumor growth had been achieved in the first animal experiments. (fp)