The osteoporosis drug raloxifene, primarily prescribed for post-menopausal women, may also be able to treat triple-negative breast cancer, according to research published in Cell Death and Disease.
In lab tests, researchers found that the drug, marketed under the brand name Evista, killed human TNBC cells as well as liver cancer cells. Raloxifene binds with a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and kills cancer cells that do not have receptors for estrogen. Included in the study was an analysis of data on women who had estrogen-negative breast cancers, in which researchers found increased survival rates in the women whose breast cancers had higher levels of the AhR protein.
Raloxifene would have to go through clinical trials, showing its effects on women rather than just on cells in the lab, before it can become an approved therapy, but, under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans are now required to offer raloxifene at no cost to women who have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Raloxifene belongs to a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). Research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2013 demonstrated that a different class of osteoporosis drugs, bisphosphonates, can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in all types of breast cancer.
SOURCE: “The aryl hydrocarbon receptor mediates raloxifene-induced apoptosis in estrogen receptor-negative hepatoma and breast cancer cells.” O’Donnell EF, Koch DC, Bisson WH, Jang HS, Kolluri SK. Cell Death Dis. 2014 Jan 30;5:e1038.DOI: 10.1038/cddis.2013.549.
3 thoughts on “Osteoporosis Drug Evista May Treat TNBC”
I appreciate you sharing this info! I've been looking for some insights on osteoporosis treatment, and this helped a ton. I'm grateful to live in a time of amazing medical treatment and techonlogy. http://www.whc.com/services-for-ob-gyn-greenville-nc.html
Thanks, Laura. I always appreciate reader comments, as this whole enterprise is just me, myself and I, so when something is unclear, I have to depend on people like you to let me know. I did think I had made it clear that this research was in the lab, but I added an extra clause after the statement on clinical trials, so it reads: “Raloxifene would have to go through clinical trials, showing its effects on women rather than just on cells in the lab, before it can become an approved therapy….” Does that help?
Hi Patricia – Thank you for your blog and your book. I was very interested in your post as I am a family practice doctor with a best friend with TNBC. However, I think you may have gotten your facts for this post a little bit wrong. I read the Cell Death & Disease article that you referenced and I don't believe that they actually tested this medication in women. They tested it on cancer cells in a lab, in a petri dish, and then fed the information into a computer program to try to predict if this would help women. The results were very favorable, but unfortunately this is very different than actually testing it on women. I hope you take this in the positive spirit that it was intended. And please keep up the good work that you do! You are very inspiring!-Laura Theis, MD