03 Apr Genome-wide reprogramming of the chromatin landscape underlies endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer
MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Dr. Mathieu Lupien PhD
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Lupien: Approximately 50% of breast cancer patients fail to respond to the standard of care based on endocrine (hormonal) therapy. Our research identifies a mechanism that accounts for this resistance. Drugs against this mechanism are already tested for other diseases. Hence, our discovery should rapidly help reposition these drugs against endocrine therapy resistant breast cancer.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Lupien: The key scientific discovery is that our findings came from interrogating the epigenome of breast cancer cells, the cosmetic layer of information on top of the DNA. This allowed us to understand how regions outside of genes differed in endocrine therapy responsive versus resistant breast cancer cells. These non-genic regions harbor a wealth of functional information that we are just starting to explore for cancer research.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Lupien: Understanding the mechanisms that lead to drug response or resistance can help identify alternatives. Our work identifies a mechanism of resistance and also provides the companion test to identify endocrine therapy resistant patient. Taken together, our work should be of significant benefit as we move forward in validating our discoveries in the clinic.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Lupien: The field of epigenetic is just starting to reveal its immense potential to help understand the mechanism underlying cancer development and progression. We need to increase funding in this field of research.
Genome-wide reprogramming of the chromatin landscape underlies endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer
Luca Magnani, Alexander Stoeck, Xiaoyang Zhang, András Lánczky, Anne C. Mirabella, Tian-Li Wang, Balázs Gyorffy, and Mathieu Lupien
PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print April 1, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1219992110