Susan G. Komen®, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, today hailed work led by Komen researcher Dr. Elizabeth Wellberg and team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center which sheds new light on how obesity can negatively impact treatment and lead to poorer outcomes for postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER+) breast cancer.
This new laboratory research, published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, shows that obesity promotes the way ER+ tumors progress and become resistant to endocrine therapy through a protein called FGFR1. Though more research is needed, targeting FGFR1 could help reverse the negative effects that obesity has on treatment response, ultimately improving survival for ER+ breast cancer patients who may be overweight or obese at the time of treatment.
“Dr. Wellberg’s work shows us that to deliver effective breast cancer treatment and improve outcomes, it’s important to look at the full picture of a patient’s health, and not just the characteristics of their tumor,” said Victoria Wolodzko, Senior Vice president of Mission at Komen. “This work not only provides a treatment target (in FGFR1) which may someday help women and men facing ER+ breast cancer, but supports a growing body of evidence that weight loss could play a critical role in breast cancer treatment in the future.”
“Dr. Wellberg exemplifies why Komen continues to invest in early career breast cancer researchers with promising ideas that will help us achieve our goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by half by 2026,” said Wolodzko.
To date, Komen has invested more than $956 million in breakthrough breast cancer research – the largest nonprofit breast cancer research investment outside of the U.S. government. Read more about this groundbreaking research from University of Colorado Cancer Center.