Alternative target for breast cancer drugs

July 19, 2013, European Molecular Biology Organization

Scientists have identified higher levels of a receptor protein found on the surface of human breast tumour cells that may serve as a new drug target for the treatment of breast cancer. The results, which are published today in EMBO Molecular Medicine, show that elevated levels of the protein Ret, which is short for "Rearranged during transfection", are associated with a lower likelihood of survival for breast cancer patients in the years following surgery to remove tumours and cancerous tissue.

"Our findings suggest that Ret kinase might be an attractive and novel alternative in selected groups of breast cancer patients," remarked Nancy Hynes, Professor at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Re-search and the University of Basel, Switzerland. "Initial experiments in mice that serve as model organisms for the study of breast cancer have revealed that specific inhibitors significantly block the spread of cancer and decrease the number of metastatic tumours found in the lungs."

The scientists examined tumour tissue microarrays of more than 100 who had undergone surgery to remove their tumours. Antibodies were used to detect the levels of Ret in the samples. In other experiments, four different cancer cell lines were used and injected into mice to study the effects of Ret inhibitors on the progress and spread of the cancer.

"Our findings demonstrate that blocking Ret kinase not only decreases the growth of tumours but also impacts the potential of the cancer to spread throughout the body," Hynes said.

Targeting enzymes with antibodies or small molecular inhibitors is a clinically validated approach for cancer therapy. However, only a subset of patients are eligible for these types of treatments which makes it essential to discover additional inhibitors that could be useful in breast cancer therapy.

Explore further: Discovering a new role for a breast cancer gene

More information: doi: 10.1002/emmm.201302625

Related Stories

Discovering a new role for a breast cancer gene

January 18, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the School of Biosciences have identified an unexpected role for a tumour-associated gene in breast cancer.

Researcher discovers mechanism to slow tumor growth and metastasis in breast cancer

July 9, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine professor Julian Gomez-Cambronero, Ph.D., and his research team have discovered a key protein that plays a critical role in the development of breast ...

Scientists find promising new target for aggressive breast cancer

March 20, 2013
Women with triple-negative breast cancer are more likely to have high levels of the MET biomarker in their tumours, making it a good new target for cancer drugs according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer, ...

RET rearrangement a new oncogene and potential target in lung cancer

June 3, 2013
In results presented at ASCO 2013, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study provides important details for a recently identified driver and target in lung adenocarcinoma: rearrangement of the gene RET. The finding is ...

When breast cancer spreads to lungs, surgery may increase survival

April 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—Patients with breast cancer that has spread to the lungs may live longer if they have surgery to remove the lung tumors, a new study from Germany suggests.

Recommended for you

Metal chemotherapy drugs boost the impact of immunotherapy in cancer

December 18, 2018
Due to their powerful tumour-killing effect, metal-based chemotherapies are frequently used in cancer treatment. However, it was hitherto assumed that they damaged the immune system, because of their cytotoxic (cell-damaging) ...

10-year follow-up after negative colonoscopies linked to lower colorectal cancer risk

December 17, 2018
Ten years after a negative colonoscopy, Kaiser Permanente members had 46 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with and were 88 percent less likely to die from colorectal cancer compared with those who did not undergo colorectal ...

Survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma face high long-term risk of solid cancers

December 17, 2018
New research refines existing evidence that survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma face an elevated risk of developing various types of solid tumors many years later. In addition, certain subgroups of patients have an especially ...

Immunotherapy combo not approved for advanced kidney cancer patients on the NHS

December 14, 2018
People with a certain type of advanced kidney cancer will not be able to have a combination of two immunotherapy drugs on the NHS in England.

New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials

December 13, 2018
A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports.

Surgery unnecessary for many prostate cancer patients

December 13, 2018
Otherwise healthy men with advanced prostate cancer may benefit greatly from surgery, but many with this diagnosis have no need for it. These conclusions were reached by researchers after following a large group of Scandinavian ...

0 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.