Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Potential Prognostic Marker Identified for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

By: Dana Elya
Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York, and other international institutions may have uncovered the first known prognostic marker for triple-negative breast cancer, according to the findings of a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They indicate that targeting this marker—estrogen receptor–beta (ESR2)—with tamoxifen may prove to be an effective treatment for some patients with this aggressive type of breast cancer.

“TP53 status is a determinant of the functional duality of ESR2,” explained Gokul M. Das, PhD, Co-Director of the Breast Disease Site Research Group at Roswell Park, and colleagues. “Our study suggests that [the] ESR2-mutant TP53 combination prognosticates survival in [triple-negative breast cancer], revealing a novel strategy to stratify [triple-negative breast cancer] for therapeutic intervention potentially by repurposing tamoxifen.”

The researchers found that in triple-negative breast cancer with mutated TP53, ESR2 functions as a tumor suppressor by binding to mutated TP53. On the other hand, in triple-negative breast cancer with normal TP53, ESR2 binds to normal TP53, which disables its tumor-suppressing capabilities, they explained.

“Tamoxifen increased ESR2-mutant TP53 interaction, leading to reactivation of TP73 and apoptosis,” the investigators reported. The research team is planning to move forward with clinical trials to validate their findings.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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