Breast cancer metastasis may be prevented through the new use of a class of drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mayo Clinic researchers have identified that a key drug target, CDK4/6, regulates a cancer metastasis protein, SNAIL, and drugs that inhibit CDK 4/6 could prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer. This is the finding of a paper published online on January 9, 2017 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “CDK4/6-Dependent Activation of DUB3 Regulates Cancer Metastasis through SNAIL1.” CDK4/6 inhibitors are approved for treating estrogen-positive breast cancer, but not triple-negative breast cancer. "Metastasis is a hallmark of cancer and a leading cause of cancer death," says the study's senior author, Zhenkun Lou, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic. "Despite great progress in cancer therapy, the prevention of cancer metastasis is still an unfulfilled challenge." For this study, Dr. Lou and his colleagues focused on triple-negative breast cancer, which is difficult to treat, because it does not exhibit receptors for estrogen, progesterone or the HER-2/neu gene, which are targets for many current breast cancer treatments. "Prior published data suggested that CDK 4/6 inhibitors were not effective in reducing the growth rates of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer," says Dr. Lou.
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