A team of scientists of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore and the Institute of Genome Research identified a novel approach to cancer therapy, which prevents or delays the progression of resistant / metastatic cancer cells. The results of the work of scientists was published in «Nature Communications» magazine.
The researchers found that the cancer cells are constantly evolving under the selective pressure of standard drugs. They identified two different coping strategies, which use tumor. One strategy is to pretend that the "dead" tumor cells, turning into dormantnye, and the second - that the cancer activates the genes that cause resistance or metastasis. The study also found that cancer cells could change their epigenetic makeup to become resistant to medications and other therapies. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms will provide better opportunities for targeting these processes that ultimately help prevent or slow the development of cancer.
Traditional approaches to cancer treatment mainly consist in the complete elimination of cancer cells. Patients subjected to high-dose chemotherapy, radiation, which are necessary for high proliferative targeting tumor cells. However, like any other living organism, cancer cells follows the basic principles of evolution and trying to adapt to change in order to survive.
The study used a new genomics one cell model of primary cells and for identifying the various modes that cause cancer cells become resistant or metastatic. Scientists have found that in some patients, cancer cells continue to divide even when treated with high doses of medication. They found that a special "switch" of stem cells under the influence of drugs activated epigenetic reprogramming that priodilo to the evolution of the tumor.
"Cancer cells behave like a chameleon, changing the expression of genes and their behavior to overcome therapy. A full understanding of the evolution of the tumor and our ability to predict the next evolutionary progress of cancer can help manage resistance to treatment "- the researchers reported.
Further studies have identified a gene BRD4, as the key molecule for resistance. The researchers then treated resistant cells via JQ1 drug that blocked BRD4 activity and could reverse or retard drug resistance of tumor cells.
"The findings may help to identify patients who are most at risk of relapse and resistance, as well as demonstrate new ways in which to treat recurrent cancer. We look forward to the opportunity to use it in clinical practice in the future "- the scientists noted.