Jan 27, 2014 – Moving Target

January 27, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD: AN UNSUSPECTED TARGET MORPHS IN MANY BREAST CANCERS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Many breast cancers are dependent on the hormone estrogen and have receptors for it, previously thought not to undergo much change as cancers progress. Now Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says new research finds that the receptor does change.

PARK: Women who have estrogen-receptor positive disease who recur on hormonal therapies, there’s a pretty high percentage of those women who actually develop mutations in the estrogen receptor in their tumor, and that is a mechanism of resistance that heretofore was really not thought of to be a mechanism, so the estrogen receptor is a target, we can interfere with that mechanism with the hormone therapies that we currently have, but because of the genetic slipperiness or instability of cancers, eventually the cancers learn to evade that hormone therapy by mutating the estrogen receptor. :32

Park says this finding will likely impact the choice of therapies. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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