Potential new treatment for triple-negative breast cancer ID'd

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2018

Summary

Results from the BEAUTY study show that the drug decitabine had an effect at a low therapeutic dose.

Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Matthew P. Goetz, M.D.

Matthew P. Goetz, M.D.

Judy C. Boughey, M.D.

Judy C. Boughey, M.D.

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that the drug decitabine, which is already approved to treat myelodysplastic syndrome, may also be useful to treat triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive and lethal types of breast cancer.

Results of the study that led to their finding were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"There is a great need to identify additional treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, which is one of the most difficult to treat subtypes of breast cancer," said Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and an author of the published study. "The study is a demonstration that we can take advantage of many existing Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to expand their usage by better understanding the mechanisms of how they work and applying them to other cancers."

The study was part of the ongoing work from the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study, co-led by Matthew P. Goetz, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Judy C. Boughey, M.D., a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"Patients whose tumors do not respond well to chemotherapy are known to be at significantly increased risk of recurrent breast cancer and death," Dr. Boughey said. "Therefore, our focus is to identify new treatment options for these patients."

Using xenografts from the BEAUTY study, Mayo investigators found that when DNA methyltransferase proteins were present, decitabine demonstrated an effect in triple-negative breast cancer at a low therapeutic dose.

The low dose resulted in less toxicity and might allow decitabine to be used for a longer time, both of which might help boost therapeutic efficacy.

Dr. Goetz said plans are underway to study the impact of decitabine in a prospective clinical trial, called BEAUTY2, which is focused on women with triple-negative breast cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy.

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