Unfolding triple-negative breast cancer

A team from Weill Cornell Medical College has found a unifying feature of triple-negative breast cancers-overactivation of the transcription factor X-box binding protein 1-that could open the door to new therapies for this notoriously hard-to-treat disease.1 Although blocking expression of this target, which is involved in the unfolded protein response, decreases tumor formation and relapse in mice, more druggable targets upstream of it might be better suited for further development.

Triple-negative breast cancers lack expression of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2 (EGFR2; ErbB2; neu) and thus do not respond to hormonal or HER2-directed therapy.2

Instead, patients receive chemotherapy-which typically produces a good initial response. However, a significant proportion of patients relapse, and the cancer often metastasizes.

Triple-negative cancers represent about 10%-20% of invasive breast cancers and are among the most aggressive types of breast cancer.

In 1999 Laurie Glimcher-who

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