Suzanne A. W. Fuqua, PhD
Suzanne A. W. Fuqua, PhD, professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, discusses the androgen receptor in breast cancer.
In her presentation at the 12th International Congress on the Future of Breast Cancer from July 18-20, 2013, in Huntington Beach, CA, Fuqua discussed the role of the androgen receptor for the treatment of breast cancer. Fuqua says that this is an exciting time because there are several drugs involving the androgen receptor that are available to treat prostate cancer that can be repurposed for use in patients with breast cancer.
In a previous study, Fuqua looked at hormone-resistant metastatic disease and found that the androgen receptor was unregulated. Since then, emphasis has been placed on studying the androgen receptor as a mechanism of resistance. It has been seen that when the androgen receptor is overexpressed in a patient with estrogen receptor (ER)+ breast cancer, androgen receptor-targeted agents are useful in restoring hormone sensitivity.
Further, there is a large body of work showing that the androgen receptor may be important in ER- breast cancer. Perhaps, Fuqua says, the mechanism is similar to ER+ disease: the androgen receptor collaborates with other growth factor receptors, the HER3 receptor in ER- disease, or the estrogen receptor in ER+ disease.
In the next year, Fuqua predicts that researchers will learn whether the androgen receptor is the driver of the tumor or an escape mechanism from treatment.