Ferroptosis: An arrow into the metabolic Achilles’ heel of recurrent breast cancer

Schematic illustration of EMT-driven DDR2 upregulation in determining ferroptosis through the regulation of YAP/TAZ
GCB News

Ferroptosis: An arrow into the metabolic Achilles’ heel of recurrent breast cancer

By Alissa Kocer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. One in eight women will develop the disease. Typically, patients respond well to initial treatment, which usually includes some combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone treatment.

However, some people, even after being in remission for years, can develop recurrent breast cancer tumors, which are often more aggressive and less responsive to the therapies employed in initial cases.

In a study published in Oncogene, Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in molecular genetics and microbiology, Chao-Chieh Lin, Ph.D., and team discovered recurrent breast cancer cells’ Achilles heel: their vulnerability to ferroptosis.

Ferroptosis is a type of iron-dependent oxidative cell death which can be triggered when the tumor cells have a shortage in the intake of one type of amino acid, cystine. Cystine is a key factor in neutralizing the oxidative stress in cancer cells.

“The tumor cells evade initial treatment recur by rewiring its signaling pathways and metabolism,” Chi said, “which require much more cystine intake to neutralize its oxidative stress to survive.”

Ferroptosis opens more doors for therapeutic options in treating aggressive, recurrent breast cancer. Chi plans to investigate other cancers as well to see if metastases and recurrent tumors for additional cancer types may also respond to ferroptosis.

   

Related News

, PDX1 immunostaining of liver tissue sections at 14 d after injection of mice treated with control and Pdx1-targeted gRNAs. Scale bars, 50 µm.

New Mice Enable CRISPR-based Epigenome Editing in Living Animals

A CRISPR-Cas9 variant with deactivated DNA-cutting function is a powerful tool to help researchers understand what genes do when their expression is dialed up or down, but it has some limitations.
view
stack of books

Research Roundup: June - July 2021

Here are summaries of a sampling of the papers published by GCB faculty in June and July 2021:

view
eight students standing on a staircase

2021 Summer Scholars Season Wraps up with Poster Presentations

Eight students from five universities spent eight weeks of their summer at Duke University as part of the

view