A very old antibiotic shows promise in treating fatal form of breast cancer

(Reviewed by Alina Shrourou/ Medical Life Sciences News) — Of the three major subtypes of breast cancer, “triple negative” is the most lethal: half of all breast cancer deaths are attributed to it, whereas it accounts for only about 15% of incidences of breast cancer. And unlike other breast cancers, it is resistant to most existing therapies.

By studying the properties of clofazimine, a 70-year-old antibiotic, scientists from the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Lausanne (UNIL), in Switzerland, demonstrate its effectiveness in stopping the progression of the disease in in vivo tests. Indeed, it blocks the Wnt cell signalling pathway – a disruption of the cell mechanism that causes many cancers, including triple negative breast cancer.

These results, published in Cancer Letters, highlight the need to re-examine with a fresh eye the drugs already on the market, especially the older ones.

Triple negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, affecting especially young women. Its very rapid progression and the lack of effective treatment thus contribute to making it an extremely serious disease, causing the death of more than 200,000 women worldwide each year. (…)

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