An analysis of hundreds of breast tumours has revealed a way to target a class with poor prognosis.
Overexpression of the protein ERRα has been linked to poor clinical outcomes in patients with breast cancer. Donald McDonnell at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues analysed gene expression in more than 800 breast tumours, and found that the expression of a cluster of co-regulated genes correlated with both higher ERRα activity and shorter relapse-free survival. Follow-up in 17 tumour cell lines showed that tumours with increased expression of this gene cluster were also more sensitive to a compound called XCT790, which blocks ERRα signalling.
Reducing the expression of another protein, PGC1β, an important cofactor for ERRα, also reduced ERRα signalling and cell proliferation.