Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have identified genes that are potential targets for therapeutic drugs against triple-negative breast cancer. These findings were reported in the July 2013 issue of PNAS.
In the research, they discovered that an enzyme, UBASH3B, was overexpressed in one third of TNBC patients. Deleting this gene expression inhibits TNBC growth and lung metastasis in a mouse model. They also showed that TNBC patients with high levels of UBASH3B tend to be more likely to have early recurrence and metastasis.
Lead author Dr Qiang Yu said, “It is heartening to know that UBASH3B is an important element of the pro-invasive gene network and targeting UBASH3B not only inhibits TNBC invasive growth, but also significantly reduces metastasis.”
Tan Tock Seng Hospital consultant surgeon Dr Tan Ern Yu, a collaborator and co-author of the study said, “Some TNBC patients relapse soon after standard treatment while others remain free of disease for a long time. Being able to predict which patients are more likely to relapse is important since these patients may benefit from more aggressive treatments. But currently, doctors are unable to reliably do so. Further validation will show whether UBASH3B can be developed into a means of identifying these high-risk patients as well as a new form of treatment.”
Dr Dave Hoon, Director, Department Molecular Oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, USA, and co-author said, “Recent large-scale genomic analysis of breast cancer show that triple negative breast cancer are highly heterogeneous and patients tumors can have different molecular profiles. The finding can help us develop new approaches for targeted therapy for this highly aggressive breast cancer.”
The original news release is here.
• Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
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