Genes associated with aggressive breast cancer

Aug 16, 2010

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have for the first time identified 12 genes that could be associated with aggressive breast tumours. The discovery could result in more reliable prognoses and better treatment strategies for patients.

The results, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, are based on analyses of breast tumours from 97 female patients. Half of these patients died within eight years of diagnosis, while the remainder survived for more than eight years.

Breast tumours consist of a heterogeneous mix of which are markedly different in terms of their genes (DNA) and biological properties. The researchers used microarray techniques to study the overall picture of the tumours by measuring the amount of DNA and gene products (RNA) in each tumour. This enabled them to investigate the relationship between genetic changes and clinical parameters such as tumour properties and response to treatment.

"We've managed to identify 12 genes whose expression is associated with an aggressive form of breast cancer," says Toshima Parris, a PhD student at the Department of Oncology. "These 12 genes were much more prominent in patients who died within eight years than in those who survived."

Three of these 12 gene products were represented in much higher levels in aggressive breast tumours than in less aggressive tumours, whereas the nine remaining genes were found in lower levels in aggressive tumours.

These findings suggest that the activity of these genes could have an effect on tumour progression by impacting cell growth, motility and development. According to Parris, it may one day be possible to test for these markers in blood samples containing circulating tumour cells and/or tumour tissue from in order to ascertain whether the patient may benefit from a particular treatment or drug to counteract this change in the genes' activity.

"We hope that diagnostics focusing on these at an early stage will result in more reliable prognoses, which could lead to more effective treatment regimens for patients with aggressive tumours," says Parris.

Explore further: No increased risk of second cancers with radiotx in pelvic CA

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fifty-one genes predict breast cancer survival

Jun 10, 2009

It may be possible in the future to use a specimen from the tumour to determine which patients with breast cancer have a good chance of overcoming the disease, and which patients should be given more intensive treatments. ...

Breast cancer tumors grow faster in younger women

May 08, 2008

A new approach to estimating tumour growth based on breast screening results from almost 400,000 women is published today BioMed Central’s open access journal, Breast Cancer Research. This new model can also estimate the pr ...

A new cancer vaccine starves tumors of blood

May 24, 2010

A DNA-vaccine that restricts the supply of blood to tumours has been developed by scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. The vaccine slows the growth of breast cancer tumours in mice.

Recommended for you

Scientists zero in on how lung cancer spreads

Dec 24, 2014

Cancer Research UK scientists have taken microscopic images revealing that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells - meaning they can break loose and spread, according to ...

Scientists identify rare cancer's genetic pathways

Dec 24, 2014

An international research team, including four Simon Fraser University scientists, has identified the "mutational landscape" of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), a rare, highly fatal form of liver cancer that disproportionately ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.