HIV Drugs Stop Breast Cancer Metastasis: Promising Preclinical Studies
HIV drugs which are CCR5 antagonists are showing slow down of breast cancer metastasis in preclinical studies conducted at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and published in the journal, Cancer Research.
The HIV drugs target CCR5 receptors which are associated with inflammatory cells of immune system. The HIV virus makes use of these receptors to gain entry into the host cell and establish infection. Incidentally, CCR5 receptors are also expressed in breast cancer cells and these are responsible for the spread for metastasis of tumor. Thus, CCR5 antagonists can be used for blocking the receptors and thereby prevent or slow down metastases.
Preclinical studies looked at two HIV drugs, Maraviroc and Vicriviroc, which were found to prevent migration of basal breast cancer cells. Basal breast cancer subtype do not express estrogen, androgen receptors or HER2, hence they are typically prone to metastasis and very often do not respond to hormonal therapies. A targeted therapy for this subtype of breast cancer is very much needed since current treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery show poor prognosis.
The tests were conducted on 2,254 patient breast cancer samples and in mice. This is certainly a new avenue for research and testing in humans may take years, however, results are very promising.