Resistance to treatment - a major problem for cancer patients as resistant cells responsible for the development of recurrence and associated with high mortality. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie resistance to therapy is crucial for the development of strategies to the final destruction of cancer and prevent the return of disease.
In the new study, published in the magazine «Nature», scientists have identified a population of tumor cells that persist after the medical treatment of basal cell carcinoma and lead to a recurrence of the disease. They also identified a combination of drugs that can destroy the resistant population of tumor cells and prevent cancer recurrence.
Basal cell carcinoma - a common type of cancer which affects several million patients every year. For the treatment of local and metastatic basal cell carcinoma vismodegib used. Many patients undergoing treatment vismodegib, experienced tumor regression, but they often relapse following discontinuation of therapy.
In the new study, researchers from the Free University of Brussels have identified the mechanism by which vismodegib leads to tumor regression and identified the cause of recurrence at the termination of treatment. They found that promotes differentiation vismodegib bulk of tumor cells, leading to their elimination. Drug treatment leads to dormantnyh population of tumor cells, which are characterized by an active signaling Wnt, persisting despite continued drug administration.
Researchers have found that the inhibition of Wnt signaling in combination with Vismodegib eliminates dormantnye tumor destruction that leads to the destruction of the tumor in most cases.
The study demonstrates that vismodegib promotes regression of tumors by promoting the differentiation of tumor cells. It shows that the induction of differentiation of the tumors is safe and effective strategy for the treatment of solid tumors.
"Our research also identifies a new mechanism of resistance to therapy with basal cell carcinoma, and demonstrates that the use of two existing drugs may be enough to prevent a relapse. In the future, we plan to conduct clinical trials using the combination of the two drugs in patients with basal cell carcinoma, and possibly other types of cancer "- the researchers reported.