Amgen’s denosumab may help check breast cancer in women with BRCA1 gene – Study
US biotech firm Amgen’s (Nasdaq: AMGN) Prolia (denosumab) to treat osteoporosis and Xgeva to prevent fractures in cancer patients, may be an effective non-surgical alternative to prevent breast cancer associated with mutations in the BRCA1 gene, according to a pre-clinical study.
The study, published in in Nature Medicine, found that pre-cancerous BRCA1-mutated tissue could be identified by the RANK marker, the same protein targeted by denosumab.
The researchers evaluated breast tissue samples donated by women with BRCA1 mutations, finding that RANK+ cells proliferated rapidly, had faulty DNA repair and bore a molecular signature similar to that of basal-like breast cancer.
The study also found that proliferation was markedly reduced in breast biopsies from BRCA1-mutation carriers who were treated with denosumab, while inhibition of RANKL in a BRCA1-deficient mouse model substantially curtailed the formation of mammary tumours.
The protein produced by the BRCA1 gene normally plays a key role in repairing day-to-day DNA damage. BRCA1 is also regarded a tumor-suppressor gene due to its ability to regulate the repair of damaged DNA. However, when mutated, BRCA1 can allow cancer to occur with increased frequency.
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