Lysosomal Enzyme-Induced Cell Death in MCF7 and Mammary Gland Cells

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Breast cancer is a major health problem, being the second deadliest form of cancer in women, behind lung cancer, and it is the leading overall cause of deaths in women between 40 and 55 years of age. Great strides have been made in the diagnosis, research, and treatment of breast cancer. However, breast cancer cells that are resistant to radiation, anti-hormonal therapy, and chemotherapy are also resistant to apoptosis. Given these facts, it is likely that innovative new strategies will be required to treat breast cancer. Lack of such strategies is a major problem, because, until they become available, it is likely that there will be little, if any reduction in the number of new breast cancer cases. The idea of activating lysosomes as a way of treating breast cancer is novel and potentially important. Lysosomal enzymes, which can degrade all biological macromolecules, induce apoptosis in a variety of model systems and in breast tumors in mammary carcinomas in animal models. In this report, we demonstrate that lysosomal enzymes can trigger apoptosis in human breast carcinoma cells as well as in rat mammary gland cells.



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