Breast Cancer Combo Therapy May Help Treat Common Form of Disease

Breast Cancer Combo Therapy May Help Treat Common Form of Disease
A newly published paper in Cell Reports journal, entitled "Anti-estrogen Resistance in Human Breast Tumors Is Driven by JAG1-NOTCH4-Dependent Cancer Stem Cell Activity," reported new insights into the reasons why many women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer form resistance to hormone treatment, and suggests an approach to effective treatment for them. Breast cancer is a common form of cancer in women, often developing after the age of 50. Common risk factors include genetic predisposition, use of birth control therapy, cigarette smoking, and diverse polluting particles. From a mechanistic point of view, it is well-documented that breast cancers require estrogen to grow. The latter binds to two types of hormone receptors: estrogen receptors (ER+) and progesterone receptors (PR+). Nearly 80% of breast cancers are classified as ER+. They are treated using anti-oestrogen drugs that either block the receptors, like tamoxifen, or block the production of estrogen aromatase inhibitors, like anastrozole and letrozole. In around one in five of ER+ cases, the cancer is known to recur within 10 years, and most advanced breast cancers develop resistance to therapy. With this in mind,  the research team performed a series of in vitro studies and in vivo studies involving patient-derived breast cancers in mice. The results showed that treatment with anti-oestrogen drugs for short periods reduced tumor growth, but it enhanced activity of stem cells directed by a protein named NOTCH4, which cont
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