Molecular Target Therapies Identifies Possible Way to Prevent Breast Cancer

Investigators conclude that minimal residual disease cells, or those that survive the initial treatment, may carry some form of epigenetic and metabolic memory of the tumor.

Molecular target therapies that may prevent breast cancer recurrence have been discovered by investigators who analyzed tumor cells that proved resistant to the original treatment, the results of a new study show.

Investigators found that the resistant cells exhibited very similar metabolic behavior and methylation patterns to cells of the original tumor. They also concluded that minimal residual disease (MRD) cells, or those that survive the initial treatment, could carry some form of epigenetic and metabolic memory of the tumor.

However, these cells did not show any other characteristics of the original tumor cells, such as high proliferation propensity and presence of oncogenic signaling.

Investigators used transcriptomic data from individuals after they received neo-adjuvant therapy, a form of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor prior to surgical excision.

The memory process was an obvious therapeutic target, and investigators identified a small molecule that inhibits a pathway in MRD without having any impact on normal cells, which could be used contribute an important aspect for new targeted therapies.

The study’s findings were published in Molecular Systems Biology.

Reference

Metabolic memory plays a key role in breast cancer relapse. EurekAlert. News release. October 25, 2021. Accessed on October 26, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/932560