New drugs are being developed as remedies to other cancers may also be used to stop breast cancer from recurring, suggests study.
Though hormone therapies, such as tamoxifen, that target a protein responsible for tumour growth, have dramatically improved the treatment of breast cancer, the therapies do not work in all patients.
Medical researchers at the University of Leeds have now pointed the finger at a key protein, named FGFR3, that they believe helps breast cancer to become resistant to hormone treatments.
"The options available for treating breast cancers that return are relatively limited at the moment. It is therefore of utmost importance to identify the factors that cause this resistance to help promote the development of novel drugs that can be used to target recurrent breast cancers," said Dr Darren Tomlinson, lead author of the research.
"Drugs are currently being made to target this protein - FGFR3 - in other types of cancers. Our work suggests that these drugs could potentially be made available to treat some breast cancers too and help tackle this problem of resistance," he added.
The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer.