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Potential New Drug for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

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Dana-Farber scientists this year identified a promising new drug for a form of breast cancer and discovered one way the disease can outmaneuver the drug. The findings, reported in the journal Nature, may lead to a more farsighted treatment strategy for breast cancers classified as “triple-negative” – one that uses drug combinations to both arrest the disease and prevent it from resisting front-line therapies. The dual approach could significantly extend patient survival times, the authors say.

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.


“We found that a class of agents known as BET bromodomain inhibitors significantly impeded the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells in laboratory as well as animal-model tests,” says Dana-Farber’s Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, the study’s co-senior author. “On the basis of these results, such inhibitors will be tested in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in a phase 2 study, and they’re also included in ongoing phase 1 trials.

“Even if these drugs prove successful, we know that cancer often manages to circumvent therapies and resume its growth,” Polyak says.

“By understanding the series of steps that allows TNBC cells to become resistant to BET inhibitors, we can devise approaches that use combinations of therapies to slow or prevent resistance.”


Courtesy of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


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