When one drug fails, a new door opens for cancer treatment
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(PHILADELPHIA) — A new class of cancer drugs – called CDK4/6 inhibitors — recently approved to treat breast cancer can stunt the cancer’s growth and replication. It is also being explored for a number of other cancers. Unfortunately, patients often develop resistance to the therapy, and the cause of that resistance has been difficult to pin down. Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health recently discovered the key resistance mechanism in prostate cancer and identified a molecular inhibitor that could help fight the disease when resistance develops.

“We provide evidence that a drug, already in development, could help fight the cancers that develop resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors,” said senior author Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health. “This could potentially offer patients a more effective therapy to try when the CDK4/6 inhibitors fail.”

The results were recently published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

In order to first explore how tumors become resistant to CDK4/6-inhibitor therapy, Dr. Knudsen and her team, including first author Renée de Leeuw, used a cellular model of prostate cancer that let them hone in on the process of resistance. The researchers found that as

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