BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have discovered a new therapeutic target in triple-negative breast cancer, potentially contributing to the discovery of new solutions to treat the aggressive disease in a precise manner.
The newfound target is a type of tumor-specific transcript (TST), according to the findings published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). TSTs are derived from abnormal RNA splicing in tumor cells and are also a factor leading to the progression of cancer cells.
A subtype of breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer has a significantly higher risk of recurrence and metastasis than other subtypes. However, its treatment has long been insufficient due to a lack of available effective therapeutic targets.
Researchers from the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center detected a large number of TSTs in triple-negative breast cancer cells, with macrophage receptor with collagenous structure-TST (MARCO-TST) being the most frequently expressed type.
They found the expression of MACRO-TST was associated with poor outcomes in patients with this breast cancer subtype, and was a key factor promoting tumor progression, according to Shao Zhimin, one of the research leaders.
Further study confirmed the expression of the newly identified therapeutic target can be inhibited by BET inhibitors, which are expected to become a solution for the precise treatment of tumors, he added.