What Is Triple Negative Breast Cancers Heres What New Study Shows On The Growth Of This Aggressive Subtype Of Cancer

Basal-like breast cancers, also known as triple-negative cancers, are a particularly aggressive subtype of breast cancer with limited treatment options. Although the origin of luminal (cells that line the surface of the breast duct) and basal subtypes of breast cancer is unknown, studies suggest that basal-like cancers can arise from luminal epithelial cells.

What is triple-negative breast cancers?

According to the American Cancer Society, Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for about percent of all breast cancers. The term triple-negative breast cancer refers to the fact that the cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors (ER or PR) and also don’t make any or too much of the protein called HER2. (The cells test “negative” on all 3 tests.) TNBC differs from other types of invasive breast cancer in that it tends to grow and spread faster, has fewer treatment options, and tends to have a worse prognosis (outcome).

TNBC is considered as an aggressive cancer as it grows quickly and is more likely to have spread at the time it’s found. It is also more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer.

Here’s what study shows

In a new study, researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine demonstrated that proper control of a cellular pathway known as the Hippo pathway prevents the development of triple-negative breast cancer.

These findings appear online in the journal Nature Communications.

“We found that when this pathway is dysregulated or impaired, luminal epithelial cells in the mammary gland rapidly transition to a basal-like state and develop into triple negative carcinomas,” explained corresponding author Bob Varelas, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry.

In an experimental model, the researchers conditionally deleted the Lats1 and Lats2 genes, two components of the Hippo pathway, in the luminal epithelium of the mammary glands. When these genes were deleted, the models rapidly develop basal-like mammary carcinomas resembling human basal-like breast cancers. They found that the development of these carcinomas depended on the activity of the Hippo pathway effector proteins YAP and TAZ, and that deletion of these two proteins reversed carcinoma development in their model.

According to the researchers, the gene-expression signature identified from Lats1/2-deleted tumors could be used to identify aggressive features associated with triple negative breast cancers. Since basal-like breast cancers are notoriously difficult to treat, Varelas hopes these findings may be leveraged to help guide new directions for better treatment and improved patient outcomes. “A better understanding of the cellular mechanisms leading to the development of these cancers is essential to identifying new therapeutic options,” he said.

(With inputs from ANI)

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