Genes pivotal in chemotherapy resistance identified

19 June 2012

A new study has suggested that the effectiveness of chemotherapy may be dependent on the presence of a type of gene.

The report, published in Nature Medicine and carried out by researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), reveals that there is a gene expression pattern associated to resistance to breast cancer chemotherapy.

Experts led by Dr Justin Balko, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr Carlos L. Arteage, associate director for Clinical Research and director of the Breast Cancer Program at VICC, studied gene expression patterns in 49 breast tumours during surgery and after four months of neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

They found that faster tumour cell growth after NAC was strongly associated with low concentrations of dual specificity protein phosphatase 4 (DUSP4).

Dr Balko said chemotherapy was significantly more effective against cancer cells when DUSP4 was present, rather than when DUSP4 was experimentally deleted.

"These data suggest that cells with low DUSP4 expression are enriched during NAC and that low DUSP4 expression in residual resected breast tumours is a potential biomarker for drug resistance and a high likelihood of tumour recurrence," he added.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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