Triple negative breast cancer does not respond to hormone therapy, so cytotoxic chemotherapy is often used to treat these patients. However, most TNBC patients develop drug-resistance a short time after treatment. In cancer stem-like cells (CSC), MCL1 and MYC genes are overexpressed. These two genes are associated with mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (mtOXPHOS), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) processes, and help in survival and growth of CSC after chemotherapy. Mutant or inhibited expression of MCL1 and MYC could reduce CSC growth and drug-resistance in vivo. It is therefore logical to suppose drugs that inhibit MCL1 and MYC combine with standard chemotherapy could potentially slow or prevent drug-resistance in TNBCs. Currently, these drugs that inhibit MCL1 and MYC gene expression are under development with hopes that they will enter clinical trials soon.
UT Southwestern medical center