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Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center  Apr 21, 2019  4 years, 11 months, 4 weeks, 14 hours, 16 minutes ago

Diets high in the amino acid leucine fuel breast cancer's drug resistance.

Diets high in the amino acid leucine fuel breast cancer's drug resistance.
Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center  Apr 21, 2019  4 years, 11 months, 4 weeks, 14 hours, 16 minutes ago
About one in seven women in the world will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The vast majority of these cancers depend on the hormone estrogen to grow. Estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer tumors are frequently treated with the drug tamoxifen, which blocks the hormone's effect on the tumor. However, many tumors eventually become resistant to tamoxifen, allowing cancer to recur or metastasize.



A team of researchers at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has discovered an unexpected relationship between levels of the amino acid leucine and the development of tamoxifen resistance in ER+ breast cancer. Led by Senthil K. Muthuswamy, PhD, the researchers further identified a key protein that imports leucine into cells and modulates sensitivity to tamoxifen in ER+ cells in the lab setting. The findings reveal a potential new strategy for overcoming resistance to endocrine drugs in ER+ breast cancer patients.

"Patients with ER+ breast cancer who develop endocrine-resistant and metastatic cancer have very poor life expectancy, usually less than five years survival, because they have limited treatment options available," said Muthuswamy, who is Director of the Cell Biology Program and Deputy Director of Translational Research in the Cancer Research Institute at BIDMC in an exclusive interview with Thailand Medical News. "Our findings in the lab demonstrate that decreasing leucine levels suppresses proliferation of tumor cells, whereas increasing leucine enhances it. Furthermore, the findings open up the possibility that a low-leucine diet could be beneficial for patients with ER+ breast cancer."

Leucine is one of th