Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) in Berlin-Buch have now elucidated the key factors for the aggressiveness of this subtype and at the same time have identified targets for the development of new and more effective treatments.
The study by Dr. Jane Holland, Professor Walter Birchmeier, Dr. Balász Györffy (Charité Berlin, Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary) as well as Dr. Klaus Eckert (EPO Experimental Pharmacology and Oncology GmbH) has now been published online in the open access journal Cell Reports*.
In contrast to estrogen-positive breast cancer, basal breast cancer is not controlled by this female sex hormone. This cancer subtype lacks hormone receptors, which is why in contrast to estrogen-positive or progesterone-positive breast cancer a “hormone withdrawal” (anti-hormone therapy) has no effect. Progesterone is also a female sex hormone. In the latter form of breast cancer, doctors can suppress the cancer growth with anti-hormone therapies, since drugs block the receptors for estrogen or progesterone on the surface of the cancer cells. Furthermore, breast cancer with receptors for the growth factor Her2 (abbreviation for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) can be targeted with an antibody which occupies the receptors for Her2.
These therapies are not possible with the basal breast cancer subtype, according to Professor Birchmeier and Dr. Holland. In most cases (about 70 percent), the subtype neither has receptors for estrogen nor for progesterone nor Her2; it is therefore “triple negative”. “Thus, the only possible treatment for this cancer is chemotherapy,” they said. “However, because it is so difficult to treat, researchers and clinicians are seeking new ways to more specifically combat this fast-growing and aggressive type of cancer.An infamous “triple combination”
In addition, a growth factor is involved which researchers have named after its discovery site in the liver: hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). It is referred to as scatter factor because it can separate cells from their respective cluster. It is therefore important for cancer research, as Professor Walter Birchmeier and his staff were able to demonstrate repeatedly: HGF/SF binds to its receptor (Met) in the cancer cell membrane, thus stimulating cancer growth.
In vitro and in vivo in mice, the researchers in Berlin-Buch tested the various inhibitors that have already undergone clinical trials against other cancers but have not been approved. They proceeded step by step, until they ultimately used combinations of the various inhibitors at all three points of attack. Thus, they succeeded in dramatically suppressing cancer growth in mice. Dr. Holland and Professor Birchmeier explained: “A triple attack that blocks both the chemokine system and the two signaling pathways Wnt/beta-catenin and HGF/Met is the most effective.” Dr. Holland added: “This is shown by the fact that after their breast cancer treatment, the mice again formed normal, so-called alveolar structures instead of tumor tissue.” The researchers now hope that their findings will be used in further preclinical trials, and if successful, will also be applied in clinical research.
* Combined Wnt/-catenin, Met and CXCL12/CXCR4 Signals Characterize Basal Breast Cancer and Predicts Disease Outcome
Jane D. Holland1*, Balázs Győrffy2,3, Regina Vogel1, Klaus Eckert4, Giovanni Valenti1, Liang Fang1, Philipp Lohneis3, Sefer Elezkurtaj3, Ulrike Ziebold1, and Walter Birchmeier11 Department of Cancer Research, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Robert-Roessle-Str. 10, Berlin, Germany
Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences