Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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World Cancer Day Fighting the Resistance
04 February 2017

Fighting the Resistance

Triple-negative breast cancer describes a type of breast cancer that doesn’t have receptors for the hormones oestrogen and progesterone and the protein HER2. As many chemotherapies are directed at these targets, halting this cancer can be more challenging. It's most commonly treated with paclitaxel – a drug that interferes with proteins within the cell cytoskeleton that are important for cell movement and division. Mena is a cytoskeletal protein that can help cancerous cells spread and metastasise – events that ultimately reduce survival rates for cancer patients. Here, researchers found that in mice, triple-negative breast cancer cells with high levels of Mena are paclitaxel resistant (cells pictured unaffected by treatment), suggesting that the amount of Mena in a patient’s cancer cells could help doctors choose the most appropriate treatment. Combining paclitaxel with a drug called tremetanib killed the cells, illustrating a potential treatment solution that could combat resistance in triple-negative breast cancer.

Today is World Cancer Day

Written by Katie Panteli

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