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Epigenetic Changes Make Breast Cancer Cells Drug Resistant

January 20, 2020 / Carmen Leitch

Changes in the epigenetics -  the modifiable chemical tags that can change the genome and gene expression - of breast cancer cells can make them resistant to drugs that are targeting them. This seems to happen to ER+ breast cancer cells, which make up around two of every three cases of breast cancer. This type of cancer can become resistant to the hormonal therapy used to treat it. Breast cancer relapse could be reduced, researchers suggested, if these epigenetic changes can be reversed. Reporting in Nature Communications, scientists have found that in ER+ breast cancer cells that resist treatment, the genome has been structurally rewired. This 3D change alters which genes are active or inactive.