Vitamin D holds answer to treatment-resistant breast cancers

Susana Gonzalo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, and her lab group have identified possible new diagnostic markers and treatments for breast cancers classified as “triple-negative.” These cancers, which are difficult to treat and have a poor prognosis, tend to affect younger women who often have the BRCA1 mutation and are at an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

Susana’s group found a pathway that is activated in triple-negative breast cancers and responsible for unchecked tumor cell growth, making these tumors especially difficult to treat. This pathway is turned off by vitamin D, which could provide a new way to treat these cancers by helping traditional therapies to be more effective. They also identified three biomarkers that could help identify those patients who would most benefit from vitamin D treatment.

Susana’s research was recently published in The Journal of Cell Biology. Her lab group worked in collaboration with the labs of Xavier Matias-Guiu and Adriana Duso at IRBLleida in Spain. The work was partially funded by a $500,000 Department of Defense grant. You can read the full story here.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology