Breast Cancer Inhibition Therapy Stops Metastasis

Inhibiting oxygen sensor leads to a reduced spread of breast cancer throughout the body.

Inhibiting oxygen sensor leads to a reduced spread of breast cancer throughout the body.

A new inhibition therapy may deactivate fibroblast cells responsible for breast cancer metastasis.

Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven recently conducted a study that shows inhibition of the oxygen sensor, PHD2, leads to a reduced spread of breast cancer throughout the body.

"We found that blocking the PHD2 oxygen sensor reduces the spread of breast cancer in two ways," said lead author Peter Carmeliet. "First, it helps blood vessels in tumors to return to their normal, stronger state, reducing the opportunity for cancer cells to escape through the vessel wall. Second, it stops cancer cells from highjacking neighboring activated fibroblast cells and instructing them to build highways of connective support tissue that the cancer cells can use to migrate into other areas of the body."

This study creates a breakthrough for future breast cancer treatments. Currently there are no approved therapies that work to deactivate cancerous fibroblast cells. Current major therapies only target malignant cancer cells.

The study also provides conclusive evidence against the belief that PHD2 inhibition promotes tumor growth. Therefore, it could be a safe treatment option.

The king of Belgium honored Dr. Carmeliet earlier this month for his work in cancer research and dedication to understanding the disease. Dr. Carmeliet plans to continue his research with PHD2 receptors. Currently, they are being tested in the clinic to treat certain blood disorders.

This study was published in the July 2015 issue of Cell Reports.