Two new potential targets for treating triple negative breast cancer, which is the most triple negative breast cancer have been identified, reveals a new study.
The research was led by Dr. Carlos Arteaga, Director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Increased activity of two genes, MCL1 and MYC, is associated with the development of chemotherapy resistance. The increased action of these two genes boosts mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, which promotes the growth of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells, the research showed.
Most breast cancers can be treated with hormone therapy, but about 15 percent of cases are triple negative breast cancer, meaning the cancer cells are not influenced by hormones like estrogen or progesterone.
These triple negative breast cancers must, therefore, be treated with chemotherapy, which is toxic to healthy cells as well as cancer cells.
Furthermore, most triple negative breast cancers eventually become resistant to chemotherapy and the cancer then spreads unchecked.
Drugs that inhibit activity of the MCL1 or MYC genes are in development, Dr. Arteaga said. These drugs, given in conjunction with standard chemotherapies, could potentially slow or even prevent the development of chemotherapy resistance, improving the outlook for this aggressive form of breast cancer.