Because up to 75 percent of breast cancer patients have an abnormality in a specific cell signaling pathway, drugs that target different molecules along that pathway may be especially effective for treating the disease, says a researcher from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
A clearer picture is now emerging about the importance of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) pathway to breast cancer development, says Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Therapeutics. This pathway, which is linked to critical growth factor receptors and is involved in programmed cell death, is aberrant at multiple levels in breast cancer, including mutations in PI3K itself or its many "downstream" players, such as PTEN, or AKT.
"There is a lot of crosstalk between the PI3K pathway and other pathways, a lot of feed-forward and feedback loops," says Mills. "But I and others believe there are central nodes between these intersecting circles that can be effectively targeted with drugs."
Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
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