- Why Research
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
- About BCRF
- Research is the reason
- Contact Us
- The Hot Pink Party
You are here
Maurizio Scaltriti, PhD
Associate Laboratory Member
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Goal: To determine why some hormone-dependent breast tumors are resistant to anti-hormonal therapy.
Impact: Dr. Scaltriti is analyzing the DNA of breast tumors to identify genetic alterations that could be responsible for drug resistance. His work may lead to new strategies for overcoming or preventing resistance to therapy in patients with hormone-dependent breast cancer.
What’s next: He and his colleagues will conduct laboratory studies of a gene called ARID1A, which they discovered plays a critical role in promoting drug resistance.
Most breast cancer can be treated with targeted therapies that block the action of estrogen and the estrogen receptor. However, resistance to these therapies is a major clinical challenge, and it eventually develops in all patients who have metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Dr. Scaltriti is studying a gene called ARID1A that, when lost, makes ER-positive breast cancers less likely to respond to anti-hormonal therapy.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Understanding how ER-positive breast cancers evolve to become resistant to endocrine (anti-hormone) therapies.
Impact: Over 70 percent of breast cancers are estrogen-receptor (ER) positive. Treatments that block the action of estrogen and estrogen receptor are effective for most patients with ER-positive breast cancer. Despite these advances, however, resistance to endocrine therapies is a major clinical problem, especially in patients with metastatic disease – disease that has spread beyond the breast. The goal of Dr. Scaltriti’s BCRF research is to find novel mechanisms of resistance to endocrine therapy and to potentially identify a subset of patients less likely to respond to hormonal therapy. Results from these studies may help to explain why ER-positive tumors become resistant to endocrine therapies and lead to strategies to prevent or treat endocrine resistance.
Current research: Dr. Scaltriti and his colleagues are conducting laboratory and clinical studies to identify the mechanisms tumor cells use to become resistant to endocrine therapy and to develop markers that can predict which patients are less likely to respond to these therapies.
What they’ve learned so far: They have analyzed the DNA of over 1500 breast tumors and identified a gene called ARID1A that is critical in promoting drug resistance. In laboratory studies where they blocked ARID1A, the tumor cells changed from being responsive to endocrine therapy to being resistant.
What’s next: They will use patient samples and sophisticated laboratory models to study the role of ARID1A in more detail.
Maurizio Scaltriti, PhD, is an Associate Laboratory Member in the Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received his PhD at the University of Modena in Italy, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Scaltriti’s research focuses on identifying mechanisms that limit the sensitivity to targeted therapy in solid tumors, in particular to PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors and anti-HER2 agents. His work aims to provide insights into designing more effective clinical trials that test novel therapeutic combinations in precise subsets of cancer patient populations.