Tubulin Alterations and Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer (BC) is currently accountable for 1 in 8 cancer diagnoses worldwide, with 2.3 million new patients annually, both sexes combined.1 In women, it constitutes a quarter of all cancer cases and has become the most frequently detected form of the disease in 2020. This matter has been escalating globally, especially in developing countries.2 In the United States, mortality decreased 41% since 1989; however, the descending trend has slowed, stressing the need for enhanced treatments.3,4 During diagnosis, BC is classified according to the expression of hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone receptors, primarily), the overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (oncogene HER2),5 and with a pathological classification that evaluates nuclear pleomorphism, mitotic count, and tubule count. Additionally, diverse alterations in the microtubule network have been detected and characterized in BC, including irregular expression of tubulin isotypes and abnormal tubulin post-translational modifications.6 Microtubules are protein structures that constitute dynamic pillars of the cytoskeleton and have major roles in key cellular processes, such as  mitotic chromosome segregation, cell shape and motility, and inner cellular transport.7 Alterations in these essential structures in BC are associated with poor prognosis and response to treatment, and a more aggressive disease.6

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