This target prevents the recurrence of the most aggressive breast cancer

Health

ABC Health

Madrid

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A study carried out by the University of Navarra has identified a therapeutic target that prevents relapse in more than 90% of cases.

Scientists from the Cima University of Navarra, in collaboration with specialists from the University Clinic of Navarra, have discovered the cause of this process and have managed to prevent the relapse of the most aggressive breast cancer, triple negative cancer, in mice in more than 90 % of the cases. The results have been published in the latest issue of “Cancer Discovery”, the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Although the experiments were done in mice, several companies are developing inhibitors for clinical development in patients with triple negative breast cancer.

It is estimated that each year 1,500 Spanish women treated for breast cancer suffer from the reappearance of the tumor in the breast itself or in nearby lymph nodes, despite surgical removal and the application of radiotherapy to eliminate any remaining tumor.

Although the experiments were done in mice, several companies are developing inhibitors for clinical development in patients with triple negative breast cancer.

The researchers developed two new animal models that mimic the human disease and identified an enzyme (ENPP1) as a key factor in the recurrence of breast cancer in the resected area. “It was a surprise being able to “hack” the genetic program used by tumor cells to form a new tumor. But what was really fascinating was deciphering all the functions directed by ENPP1”, explains Fernando Lecanda, researcher of the Cima Solid Tumors Program and co-director of the work.

As he explains, “high levels of ENPP1 make it easier for tumor cells released by the tumor, called circulating tumor cells, to be able to nest in the bed of the excised tumor, even time after treatment, as occurs in patients.

In addition, through a mediator called haptoglobin, ENPP1 attracts pro-tumor cells from the immune system, which favors exacerbated tumor growth. Finally, after attracting these immune cells, haptoglobin is able to induce its explosion forming a dense network of DNA (called NET) that protects the tumor and can even lead to new tumor foci in other organs and enhance the aggressive effects of the tumor.

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