Therapeutic inhibition of Mcl-1 blocks cell survival in oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers

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While oestrogen receptor – breast cancers express high levels of three anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, pharmacological inhibition of Bcl-2 and/or Bcl-xL fails to induce cell death in ER breast cancer cell lines, due to rapid and robust Mcl-1 upregulation.

Cells treated with a pharmacological inhibitor of cap-dependent translation, or with the mTORC1 inhibitor RAD001/everolimus, displayed reduced protein levels of Mcl-1 under basal conditions, and failed to upregulate Mcl-1 protein expression following treatment with ABT-263, a pharmacological inhibitor of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL.

Dr. Rebecca S. Cook from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville TN, USA said, “The breast epithelium undergoes many dynamic changes throughout a woman’s lifetime.”

Specifically, anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins either 1) bind to Bcl-2 effectors to block pore formation in the outer mitochondrial membrane caused by Bak/Bax oligomerisation, or 2) sequester Bcl-2 activators, which facilitate Bak/Bax oligomerisation.

Oestrogen Receptor – positive breast cancer represents 60-70% of all breast cancers diagnosed.

Notably, up to 70% of ER breast cancers express Bcl-2, although Bcl-2 is expressed at low levels in other breast cancer subtypes.

In contrast, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 are widely expressed in ER breast cancers, as well as in HER2-amplified and triple negative breast cancers, both in pre-malignant lesions and in high grade tumours.

Similarly, studies in pre-clinical models of ER breast cancers showed that ABT-263 was ineffective as a single agent, in large part due to rapid Mcl-1 upregulation, although the molecular mechanism driving compensatory Mcl-1 upregulation in response to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition in ER breast cancers are not yet clearly defined.

Source: Impact Journals


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The ONA Editor curates oncology news, views and reviews from Australia and around the world for our readers. In aggregated content, original sources will be acknowledged in the article footer.

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