A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) scientists have discovered potential drug targets for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) using integrated genomic approaches.
The GIS scientists, in partnership with other research institutions, found that UBASH3B is a protein tyrosine phosphatase that plays a key role in the invasive growth of TNBC.
According to their findings, UBASH3B is overexpressed in one third of TNBC patients and is responsible for regulating the activity of a key breast cancer gene.
After conducting further studies in a mouse model, the researchers concluded that the growth of TNBC cell and lung metastasis can be reduced by deleting the gene expression.
GIS scientists also found that high levels of UBASH3B are directly proportional to early recurrence and metastasis in TNBC patients.
Tan Tock Seng Hospital consultant surgeon and a collaborator and co-author of the study Dr Tan Ern Yu said that some TNBC patients relapse soon after standard treatment, while others remain free of disease for a long time.
"Being able to predict which patients are more likely to relapse is important since these patients may benefit from more aggressive treatments," Tan Ern Yu said.
"Further validation will show whether UBASH3B can be developed into a means of identifying these high-risk patients, as well as a new form of treatment."