Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

BRCA mutations may be 'Achilles’ heel' for some metastatic breast cancers

Date:
September 14, 2012
Source:
Methodist Hospital, Houston
Summary:
Recent research could reveal whether metastatic breast cancer patients with BRCA gene mutations are particularly responsive to a drug regimen that includes Veliparib, an investigational drug believed to hamper cancer cells.

Ongoing research at the Methodist Cancer Center could reveal whether metastatic breast cancer patients with BRCA gene mutations are particularly responsive to a drug regimen that includes Veliparib, an investigational drug believed to hamper cancer cells.

"We want to know whether Veliparib's effects are unique to cancer cells and spare normal, healthy, non-cancer cells," said Jenny C. Chang, M.D., a site principal investigator and director of the Methodist Cancer Center. "While having a BRCA mutation is bad because it increases the risk of getting breast cancer, having a BRCA mutation in cancer could also be seen as a positive if we can exploit that weakness with this drug combination."

The project is funded by Abbott Laboratories Inc., which makes Veliparib. The Methodist Cancer Center is one of 30 locations in the United States and Europe participating in the clinical trial.

Veliparib is believed to inhibit proteins called PARPs, which often work in conjunction with BRCA proteins to repair DNA or cause cell death. Like BRCA proteins, PARPs help healthy cells avoid disease. But BRCAs and PARPs are believed to help cancer cells overcome injury or damage caused by radiation and certain types of anti-cancer drugs, too. Veliparib, when administered with standard chemotherapy drugs like carboplatin and paclitaxel, may make the combination treatment work better by not allowing the cancer cells to fix damage caused to them by chemotherapy.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 belong to the tumor suppressor class of genes. Mutations in these genes cause a loss of function, and have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

"BRCA mutations may be the Achilles' heel of some breast cancers," said Angel Rodriguez, M.D., site co-PI and director of Methodist's Triple Negative Breast Cancer Clinic. "Cancer cells in BRCA carriers are dependent on PARP because they have no working BRCA protein. PARP inhibitors selectively destroy cancer cells in the carriers of BRCA mutations."

While it is rare for BRCA mutations to be implicated in breast cancer cases, certain groups are more likely to possess abnormal variants of the gene. Families with a history of multiple cancers are at higher risk, as are Ashkenazi Jewish women, of whom one in 40 are estimated to carry a BRCA mutation.

Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation tend to have breast cancers that are "triple negative," cancer cells that do not express the genes for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), or Her2/neu.

Approximately 2.5 million women worldwide live with breast cancer and more than 250,000 women age 40 and under live with breast cancer in the United States. A woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.

For more information on this research or to contact the Methodist Cancer Center, visit us online or call 713.790.3333. Follow Methodist on Twitter and Facebook.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Methodist Hospital, Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Methodist Hospital, Houston. "BRCA mutations may be 'Achilles’ heel' for some metastatic breast cancers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914135329.htm>.
Methodist Hospital, Houston. (2012, September 14). BRCA mutations may be 'Achilles’ heel' for some metastatic breast cancers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914135329.htm
Methodist Hospital, Houston. "BRCA mutations may be 'Achilles’ heel' for some metastatic breast cancers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914135329.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins