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Researchers Discovered Potential Treatment Option for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Researchers discovered a potential treatment option for triple-negative breast cancer, according to a study conducted on May 21, 2018.

This study is based on the findings of researchers from the Mayo Clinic. They identified that the drug called as 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine), which is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain hematological (blood) cancers could significantly inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancers. Also, similar effect was observed in tumors resistant to chemotherapy. This response was dependent on the presence of certain critical proteins called DNA methyl transferase proteins that are present in only a subset of triple negative breast cancers.

Liewei Wang, a researchers at Mayo said, “The study is a demonstration that we can take advantage of many existing FDA approved drugs to expand their usage by better understanding the mechanisms of how they work and applying them to other cancers.” This study was part of the ongoing work from the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study, co-led by Matthew Goetz, M.D., a Mayo medical oncologist and Judy Boughey, M.D., a Mayo breast surgeon. The BEAUTY study generated patient derived xenografts from patients with breast cancer treated with chemotherapy.

It was found that when DNA methyl transferase proteins were present in the living xenografts from BEAUTY, decitabine showed an effect in triple-negative breast cancer at a low therapeutic dose. The low doses resulting in less toxicity might allow the drug to be used for a longer time, all of which might help to achieve greater therapeutic efficacy. Furthermore, the researchers are planning to study the impact of decitabine in a prospective clinical trial called BEAUTY2, which will be focused on women with triple negative breast cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy.