New study finds that breast cancer may fight other cancers too

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 31, 2015

A new research has found an oral breast cancer drug that can combat breast cancer. In combination with endocrine therapy, this drug has been found to have the potential to fight other cancers as well.

Breast cancer treatment

Palbociclib targets rapid division of tumour cells by inhibiting the activity of enzymes CDK4 and CDK6. This propels cell division and increases in numbers in most types of cancers. It is the first CDK4/6 inhibitor that has been approved for treatment of breast cancer.

The lead author of the study, Amy S Clark, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania said that all living cells go through cell division and palbociclib’s unique capacity to stop the process of cell division makes it have a broad applicability.

When palbociclib is combined with other anti-cancer therapies, it can create a very powerful combinatorial effect with the promise of addressing different types of cancers. Targeted therapy makes use of medication as well as other methods to identify and attack the tumour cells usually causing no or little damage to normal cells.

The senior author of the study, Peter J O’Dwyer, professor at Penn said that the drug has some minor effects on normal cells other than white blood cells, also called neutrophils. In the tumours, this can cause shrinkage, or stunting of growth. “As we discover new functions for the CDK4/6 target of this medicine, we are likely to use it in combinations to make other anti-cancer agents work better," said O'Dwyer, also director of the Developmental Therapeutics Programme at the Abramson Cancer Centre (ACC) in US.

O’Dwyer further added that apart from inhibiting cell cycle, palbociclib has been shown to change several recently described non-cell cycle functions of CDK4/6. Early trials of palabociclib have shown promise of effectiveness in treatment cases of teratoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, etc.

The study has been published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

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