Protein Essential to Breast Cancer Cell Growth and Treatment Resistance Identified

Protein Essential to Breast Cancer Cell Growth and Treatment Resistance Identified
Tumor-initiating cells, thought to give rise to cancer, are often associated with treatment resistance and disease recurrence. Now researchers have identified a protein, called G3BP2, that is essential to the survival of these cells in breast cancers. Targeting this protein with a chemical compound the researchers also identified effectively reduced the numbers of these cells in various breast cancer models, suggesting this approach may lower treatment resistance and improve outcomes for patients. The study, “Stress Granule-associated Protein G3BP2 Regulates Breast Tumor Initiation,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Tumor-initiating cells (TICs) are one of the many different types of cells seen in breast cancer. Although present in small amounts in breast and most other cancers, TICs are believed to give rise to all cancer cells within a tumor. These cells play an important role in cancer survival because they resist standard anti-cancer therapies. But a better understanding of how these cells work is an essential first step in combatting them. Using cultures of metastatic breast cancer cells containing a significant number of TICs, researchers tested the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug Taxol (paclitaxel) combined with different compounds — more than 60,000 in all. Among the compounds tested, the drug C108 had the most pronounced effect in decreasing cancer cell survival. They then tested this combination in other cultures of TIC-enriched breast cancer cells, and observed that C108 not only enhanced the toxic effects of Taxol, but also killed TICs when administered alo
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