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Cancer Lett. 2019 Oct 1;461:123-131. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2019.07.012. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Notch signaling in breast cancer: From pathway analysis to therapy.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Oncology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Comprehensive Cancer Center and National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Comprehensive Cancer Center and National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology & Oncology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, 79430, USA.
4
Department of Medical Oncology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Comprehensive Cancer Center and National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA. Electronic address: ssinghal@coh.org.

Abstract

The Notch signaling pathway, which is highly conserved from sea urchins to humans, plays an important role in cell-differentiation, survival, proliferation, stem-cell renewal, and determining cell fate during development and morphogenesis. It is well established that signaling pathways are dysregulated in a wide-range of diseases, including human malignancies. Studies suggest that the dysregulation of the Notch pathway contributes to carcinogenesis, cancer stem cell renewal, angiogenesis, and chemo-resistance. Elevated levels of Notch receptors and ligands have been associated with cancer-progression and poor survival. Furthermore, the Notch signaling pathway regulates the transcriptional activity of key target genes through crosstalk with several other signaling pathways. Indeed, increasing evidence suggests that the Notch signaling pathway may serve as a therapeutic target for the treatment of several cancers, including breast cancer. Researchers have demonstrated the anti-tumor properties of Notch inhibitors in various cancer types. Currently, Notch inhibitors are being evaluated for anticancer efficacy in a number of clinical-trials. However, because there are multiple Notch receptors that can exhibit either oncogenic or tumor-suppressing roles in various cells, it is important that the Notch inhibitors are specific to particular receptors that are tumorigenic in nature. This review critically evaluates existing Notch inhibitory drugs and strategies and summarizes the previous discoveries, current understandings, and recent developments in support of Notch receptors as therapeutic targets in breast cancer.

KEYWORDS:

Breast cancer; Chemo-resistance; Monoclonal antibodies; Notch receptor; γ-secretase inhibitors

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