Several cancer treatments fall short of expectations. The development of drug resistance in the malignancies is a frequent cause of this. This is the case, for instance, with the medicine alpelisib, which has just received approval in Switzerland for use as a treatment for advanced breast cancer.

The deletion of the neurofibromin 1 (NF1) gene decreases the response to alpelisib, according to new research from the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine. The dietary supplement N-acetylcysteine, according to the study’s findings, helps cancer cells regain their sensitivity to this therapy. The specialist journal Cell Reports Medicine recently published the findings.

Patients with advanced and metastatic breast cancer are currentlylack of available effective treatments. Breast cancer frequently has an overactive PI3K signaling system because of mutations that encourage tumor growth. Thus, the approval of the PI3K inhibitor Alpelisib was eagerly awaited. In order to determine which genes had mutated to make cancer cells resistant, his team set out to identify the genetic basis of the resistance.

As a result, the tumors became resistant to treatment with alpelisib due to mutations that turned off the NF1 protein’s synthesis. Although NF1 is known to inhibit the growth of malignancies via a number of signaling pathways, alpelisib resistance had not yet been connected to the gene.

The researchers’ subsequent tests verified that the loss of NF1 also causes resistance in human cancer cells.