January 9, 2015 – Drug Resistance


Anchor lead:  Can a new genetic test predict which breast cancers will resist treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Tamoxifen is a success story for many women with breast cancer,  keeping the disease at bay after surgery and additional treatments.  But not all women benefit.  Now research by Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, may help explain why.

PARK: We got some cases of metastatic breast cancers showing those individuals who had amplification of the gene in their primary tumor many sites of metastasis had increased expression as well. It gives you the opportunity to say wow, we could potentially use this gene as a marker for disease that’s going to be resistant to hormone therapies, and importantly, and we’re always thinking about this, is it drugable? Can we target it or its pathway for therapeutic intervention and the answer is still maybe, we don’t know, but we do feel it’s something that is exciting because it represents a different and novel class of genes that mediates drug resistance.   :33

Park and colleagues mined genetic records of thousands of women with breast cancer to find this gene, known as MACROD-2. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.