ZEB1 Protein Helps Repair Breast Cancer Tumor Cells Damaged By Radiation Therapy

ZEB1 Protein Helps Repair Breast Cancer Tumor Cells Damaged By Radiation Therapy
ZEB1 breast cancerA team of researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, has discovered that the zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) protein can help breast tumor cells repair DNA damage inflicted by radiation therapy, thereby allowing tumors to become unresponsive to this type of therapy. This new insight could help to substantially improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy in treating various forms of breast cancer in the future. “Radiation therapy causes cell death by inducing DNA ‘ breaks,'” said Li Ma, Ph.D. an assistant professor of experimental radiation oncology at MD Anderson and senior author of the study. “The rationale for treating tumors with radiation without damaging normal tissues is that, compared with normal cells, tumor cells are actively dividing and often have defects in DNA damage repair machinery.” The results, published in this month’s Nature Cell Biology, revealed that upon DNA damaged caused by radiation, ZEB1 activates the DNA damage response pathway, enabling cells to repair their DNA while creating tumor cells resistant to radiation. Additionally, ZEB1 induces an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (
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