New target, new drug in breast cancer

Many breast cancers depend on hormones including estrogen or progesterone for their survival and proliferation. Eight years of lab work at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and elsewhere suggest that the androgen (AR) receptor is an additional hormonal target in many breast cancers. Block AR+ breast cancer's ability to access androgen and you block the cancer's ability to survive.

That's what the drug enzalutamide does, according to a CU Cancer Center study, presented today at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago.

"Preliminary results are promising and show that androgen receptor blockade may indeed be therapeutic," says Anthony Elias, MD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor of at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Elias points out that about 88 percent of estrogen-positive breast cancers, 50 percent of HER2+ breast cancers and 25 percent of triple-negative breast cancers are androgen-positive (75 percent of all breast cancers), making a possible first target for many cancers, or a likely second target for cancers that resist other therapies.

"Targeting androgen receptors may be especially important for patients whose cancers haven't responded to existing treatments that target estrogen or progesterone," Elias says.

The Medivation drug enzalutamide blocks the proliferative power of androgen receptors in breast cancer. In breast cancers that were both ER+ and AR+, the effect of enzalutamide against androgen was similar to the effect of the proven drug tamoxifen against .

"This is a possible, new first-line target for care," Elias says.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Breast cancer is not one disease, experts say

date 5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Breast cancer isn't the same for every woman, even at the cellular level, according to a new statement from four major medical groups focused on the disease.

Teens with breast lumps may be able to avoid invasive biopsy

date 6 hours ago

If a lump is found in the breast of an adolescent girl, she often will undergo an excisional biopsy. However, breast cancer is rare in adolescents, and the vast majority of teenage breast lumps turn out to be benign masses ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.