New insight into aggressive breast cancers

breast cancer
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from Cardiff University have uncovered a protein which drives aggressive breast cancer and could be targeted for developing new and improved therapies.

Professor Matt Smalley, from Cardiff University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, said: "There are 150 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the UK every day. To achieve better outcomes for people facing this disease, we need to better understand how it develops so we can improve therapies.

"We wanted to understand what drives an aggressive type of breast cancer called triple negative, which is resistant to hormone therapy and occurs in around fifteen percent of breast cancer cases.

"We looked at a protein called LYN, which is involved in keeping cells alive and allowing them to divide, and found that it was no longer properly controlled in aggressive breast cancer cells and could drive the cancer cell growth, spread and invasion."

The team also found that in a subset of breast cancer cells associated with the BRCA1 gene mutation, LYN could be switched on and increase cancer cell survival directly as a result of the loss of BRCA1. Interfering with LYN function under experimental conditions killed these BRCA1-mutant cells.

Professor Smalley added: "Now that we understand the role LYN has in aggressive forms of cancer, we can start to think about developing targeted therapies. In the future, we could potentially identify patients that have increased levels of LYN or a BRCA1 , and design their breast cancer therapy to suit their type of cancer. We could target LYN to improve therapy options for aggressive ."


Explore further

Study finds promising therapeutic target for aggressive type of breast cancer

Provided by Cardiff University
Citation: New insight into aggressive breast cancers (2018, December 27) retrieved 26 June 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-12-insight-aggressive-breast-cancers.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
862 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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