Osteoporosis Drug May Prevent Breast Cancer in High-Risk Patients, Researchers Say

Osteoporosis Drug May Prevent Breast Cancer in High-Risk Patients, Researchers Say
Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia have recently shown that an existing medication for osteoporosis may help prevent breast cancer in high-risk patients carrying mutations in the BRCA1 gene. The study, "RANK ligand as a potential target for breast cancer prevention in BRCA1-mutation carriers," was published in Nature Medicine. BRCA1 is a protein involved in a number of cellular processes, including maintenance of chromosome integrity and regulation of gene expression, whose faulty expression often leads to breast cancer development. Women who carry mutations in the BRCA1 gene have a 65 percent risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. Nonetheless, the precise mechanism of BRCA1 mutations that leads to breast cancer is not fully understood. Now, the Australian researchers have revealed that the cancer precursor cells in BRCA1-mutant breast tissue expressed high levels of the receptor RANK. "These cells proliferated rapidly, and were susceptible to damage to their DNA -- both factors that help them transition toward cancer," Emma Nolan, a PhD student at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, said in a press release. "We were excited to discover that these precancerous cells could be identified by a marker protein called RANK." Identifying RANK as a marker of cancer precursors was a major breakthrough, because inhibitors of the RANK signaling pathway were already approved for clinical use. "A
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.