Korea Government, the Ministry of Science
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
ARTICLE ABSTRACTBasal-like breast cancer is the most aggressive breast cancer subtype with the worst prognosis. Despite its high recurrence rate, chemotherapy is the only treatment for basal-like breast cancer, which lacks expression of hormone receptors. In contrast, luminal A tumors express ERα and can undergo endocrine therapy for treatment. Previous studies have tried to develop effective treatments for basal-like patients using various therapeutics but failed due to the complex and dynamic nature of the disease. In this study, we performed a transcriptomic analysis of patients with breast cancer to construct a simplified but essential molecular regulatory network model. Network control analysis identified potential targets and elucidated the underlying mechanisms of reprogramming basal-like cancer cells into luminal A cells. Inhibition of BCL11A and HDAC1/2 effectively drove basal-like cells to transition to luminal A cells and increased ERα expression, leading to increased tamoxifen sensitivity. High expression of BCL11A and HDAC1/2 correlated with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer. These findings identify mechanisms regulating breast cancer phenotypes and suggest the potential to reprogram basal-like breast cancer cells to enhance their targetability.
A network model enables investigation of mechanisms regulating the basal-to-luminal transition in breast cancer, identifying BCL11A and HDAC1/2 as optimal targets that can induce basal-like breast cancer reprogramming and endocrine therapy sensitivity.