Breast cancers can be divided into different subtypes based on several criteria, including whether or not they express the protein to which the female hormone estrogen binds; that is, the estrogen receptor (ER). Patients with ER-negative breast tumors have a worse outlook than those with ER-positive breast tumors.
However, even among ER-negative breast tumors, those characterized as basal-like are the most aggressive and difficult to treat. New therapeutic targets for this subtype of breast cancer are urgently needed.
Now, a team of researchers, led by Stefan Ambs, at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, report data that suggest that the protein NOS2 could be a good drug target in this context. The data, generated by analysis of human breast cancer samples and cell lines, lead the authors to conclude that high levels of NOS2 are a predictor of survival in patients with ER-negative breast tumors and to suggest that selective NOS2 inhibitors might be of benefit to these individuals.
The research is reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
- sharon A. Glynn, Brenda J. Boersma, Tiffany H. Dorsey, Ming Yi, Harris G. Yfantis, Lisa A. Ridnour, Damali N. Martin, Christopher H. Switzer, Robert S. Hudson, David A. Wink, Dong H. Lee, Robert M. Stephens and Stefan Ambs. Increased NOS2 predicts poor survival in estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer patients. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2010; DOI: 10.1172/JCI42059
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