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Following a positive breast cancer test, many women are prescribed the drug Tamoxifen. While this medication is effective in the majority of cases and is considered the primary weapon in the fight against breast cancer, it has little impact on the tumor of some women with the condition.
However, a new study suggests that adding a chemotherapy drug commonly used in leukemia treatments may make drug-resistant breast cancer more responsive to standard therapies.
Most cases of breast cancer are known as estrogen receptor-positive. This is the variety that responds to Tamoxifen. However, up to 35 percent are estrogen receptor-negative, which makes the cancer more difficult to treat.
Researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center showed that the chemotherapy medication dasatinib eliminates an important fuel source used by estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, which makes it more vulnerable to the effects of Tamoxifen.
The findings could lead to drastic improvements in the survival rates of these stubborn breast cancers.
“This opens up the door for possible new treatment strategies,” said Michael Lisanti, who led the investigation.
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