DSTYK Enhances Chemoresistance in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells

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Breast cancer, as the most prevalent cancer in women, is responsible for more than 15% of new cancer cases and about 6.9% of all cancer-related death in the US. A major cause of therapeutic failure in breast cancer is the development of resistance to chemotherapy, especially for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Therefore, how to overcome chemoresistance is the major challenge to improve the life expectancy of breast cancer patients. Our studies demonstrate that TNBC cells surviving the chronic treatment of chemotherapeutic drugs show significantly higher expression of the dual serine/threonine and tyrosine protein kinase (DSTYK) than non-treated parental cells. In our in vitro cellular models, DSTYK knockout via the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated technique results in apoptotic cell death of chemoresistant cells upon drug treatment. Moreover, DSTYK knockout promotes chemotherapeutic drug-induced tumor cell death in an orthotopic mouse model. These findings suggest that DSTYK exerts an important and previously unknown role in promoting chemoresistance. Our studies provide fundamental insight into the role of DSTYK in chemoresistance in TNBC cells and lay the foundation for the development of new strategies targeting DSTYK for improving TNBC therapy.