Amgen’s denosumab may help check breast cancer in women with BRCA1 gene – Study

pharmafile | June 21, 2016 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development Amgen, Prolia, Xgeva, biotech, breast cancer, drug trial, genetics 

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.

Anjali Shukla

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