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Study Highlights Potential of Protein-Based Signaling Analysis in Cancer Treatment

Protein-based signaling analysis in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients may help predict treatment responses and guide therapeutic interventions, according to a study appearing this week in NPJ Precision Oncology. Endocrine therapy (ET) plus CDK4/6 inhibition is the typical first-line treatment for hormone-receptor positive, HER2 negative (HR+/HER2-) MBC, which represents the most common form of the disease. While this drug combination is effective in many patients, up to 40 percent of patient will progress quickly, creating an urgent need for new drug-response biomarkers. In the study, a team led by George Mason University researchers conducted a clinical trial to map the functional activation and signaling architecture of pretreatment tumor tissue biopsies collected from HR+/HER2- MBC patients receiving a CDK4/6 inhibitor plus ET. They found that phosphorylation levels of certain CDK4/6 downstream substrates were higher in patients with progressive disease versus those who responded to treatment. The investigators also uncovered genomic-independent activation of the AKT/mTOR pro-survival signaling pathway in tumor epithelia and stroma/immune cells of those with progressive disease. "As the number of FDA-approved therapies for MBC with HR+/HER2− disease expands from the ER and CDK4/6 directed landscape … a molecularly rationalized therapeutic selection process that captures activation levels of drug targets and substrates will become increasingly important given the disparate mechanisms of action of these therapies," the study's authors conclude.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.