A recent study has found that combining tamoxifen, the most prescribed breast cancer drug in the world, with a compound originating from the feverfew plant may help prevent initial or future resistance to the medication.
"A solution to tamoxifen resistance is sorely needed, and if a strategy like this can work, it would make a difference in our clinical care of breast cancer," said Robert Clarke, the study’s lead investigator.
Approximately 70 percent of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are prescribed tamoxifen, although half of those individuals do not initially respond to the drug due to an aggressive resistance.
In the study, researchers from the Georgetown University Medical Center found that the purified chemical known as parthenolide, a derivative of feverfew, was able to successfully block the activity of nuclear factor kappa B (NF- κB), a protein complex that is often over-expressed in breast cancer patients, leading to the body’s resistance to tamoxifen.
Although the researchers are optimistic, they believe that it is too early to recommend the drug combination to patients as they are still unsure of its long-term benefits.