Notch Signaling in Breast Cancer: A Role in Drug Resistance. Journal Article

Authors: BeLow, M; Osipo, C
Article Title: Notch Signaling in Breast Cancer: A Role in Drug Resistance.
Abstract: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that can be subdivided into unique molecular subtypes based on protein expression of the Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor, and/or the Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2. Therapeutic approaches are designed to inhibit these overexpressed receptors either by endocrine therapy, targeted therapies, or combinations with cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, a significant percentage of breast cancers are inherently resistant or acquire resistance to therapies, and mechanisms that promote resistance remain poorly understood. Notch signaling is an evolutionarily conserved signaling pathway that regulates cell fate, including survival and self-renewal of stem cells, proliferation, or differentiation. Deregulation of Notch signaling promotes resistance to targeted or cytotoxic therapies by enriching of a small population of resistant cells, referred to as breast cancer stem cells, within the bulk tumor; enhancing stem-like features during the process of de-differentiation of tumor cells; or promoting epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Preclinical studies have shown that targeting the Notch pathway can prevent or reverse resistance through reduction or elimination of breast cancer stem cells. However, Notch inhibitors have yet to be clinically approved for the treatment of breast cancer, mainly due to dose-limiting gastrointestinal toxicity. In this review, we discuss potential mechanisms of Notch-mediated resistance in breast cancer cells and breast cancer stem cells, and various methods of targeting Notch through ?-secretase inhibitors, Notch signaling biologics, or transcriptional inhibitors. We also discuss future plans for identification of novel Notch-targeted therapies, in order to reduce toxicity and improve outcomes for women with resistant breast cancer.
Journal Title: Cells
Publisher: Unknown  
Date Published: 2020