HANGZHOU: Researchers in China have discovered that a drug used to treat diabetes could be effective against a form of deadly breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer is particularly aggressive among the four clinical subtypes of breast cancer, said Dong Chenfang, a professor at Zhejiang University School of Medicine.
There are currently no effective targeted therapies for this form of breast cancer.
Dong found that the levels of a metabolic enzyme called AKR1B1 were significantly elevated in breast cancer cells and that this was associated with increased rates of metastasis and shorter survival times.
The researchers also found epalrestat, a drug that inhibits AKR1B1 and is approved in Japan to treat diabetic complications, was able to block the growth and metastasis of the cancer cells.
Dong said the finding is still in the experimental stage.
Whether epalrestat can be applied to the clinical treatment still needs further tests. — China Daily/Asia News Network