LUCKNOW: A team of scientists at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) has found a new function of cancer drug, Tazemetostat, which can be used in treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), the deadliest among all subtypes of breast cancer.
The team, led by senior principal scientist Prof Dipak Datta, set out to identify molecular processes responsible for the spread of TNBC. In the process, it discovered that in contrast to its classical role in suppressing gene expression, a protien coding gene, EZH2, can mediate the overexpression of specific genes and through it, dictates the spread of cancer from breast to liver and spleen in preclinical animal models of TNBC.
An article based on the findings of the research was recently published in a peer-reviewed international journal, ‘Nature Communications’.
“Unlike other breast cancer subtypes, where three hormone receptors are targeted, TNBC is difficult to treat as it lacks these hormone receptors. Hence, commonly used anti-hormone therapies don’t work in treatment of TNBC patients. However, our study paves new way for targeted therapy of TNBC,” said Prof Datta. “TNBC patients have a higher level of EZH2. This gene is also involved in the spread of cancer. In our preclinical animal study, we found that hyperactivation of EZH2 is critical in the spread of the cancer from the breast to the liver and spleen,” he said. “We also found that inhibition of EZH2 through Tazemetostat results in marked reduction in spreading of TNBC. Further clinical trials could prove to be a promising avenue for targeted therapy for TNBC,” he added.
Prof Datta said that metastasis or tumor spread to the distant organs is responsible for 90% of patient mortality and morbidity. TNBC metastasis or spreads faster than other breast cancer subtypes resulting in a poor five-year survival rate, following diagnosis.
“A new targeted therapy is the need of the hour because conventional targeted therapies do not work on TNBC patients. Further, rather unfortunately, India is known to be TNBC capital of the world due to its highest incidence,” he said.





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