Reducing the expression of a gene called BRCC36 in cells of breast cancer makes them more responsive to radiation therapy.
The gene BRCA1 is the one that is activated by the radiation process in breast cancer, and expression of BRCC36 inhibits the former protein. Most breast cancer cells have elevated levels of BRCC36 when compared to normal breast cells. Working with the cell line MCF-7, scientists of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia had reduced the effects of BRCC36 gene by almost 80%. When the breast cancer cells underwent radiation afterwards, the number of cancer cells that were killed by radiation increased to about 10%, in comparison with the cancer cells whose level of BRCC36 were not reduced.
The researchers feel that this may be only a step to improve treatment for breast cancer. There is a need of having more research to find out why cancer cells with reduced expression for gene BRCC36 are more sensitive to radiation.
The study report was presented at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.