Genetic mutations linked to breast cancer

Dec. 10, 2012 at 5:14 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Most triple-negative breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy to shrink a tumor before surgery may still have genetic mutations, U.S. researchers say.

Justin Balko and research faculty in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Arteaga at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center-Ingram Cancer Center said finding multiple mutations instead of just one primary mutation could be another avenue for therapy.

Approximately 15 percent of U.S. breast cancer patients have triple-negative cancer -- a form of the disease that is more difficult to treat and disproportionately affects young African-American women.

"The standard of care for many patients with triple-negative breast cancer is to administer chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor," Balko said in a statement. "Unfortunately, about 70 percent of patients still have some residual disease at the time of surgery, despite treatment."

Balko and colleagues profiled residual tumor tissue from 114 patients with triple-negative breast cancer who had received chemotherapy prior to surgeries and evaluated DNA from 81 tumors.

They used deep sequencing to examine 182 oncogenes -- genes with the potential to cause cancer -- in tumor cells and tumor suppressors known to be altered in human cancers. Instead of finding similar genes affected among the patients, they found a diverse set of genes were altered, the study said.

The findings were presented at The Cancer Therapy & Research Center -- American Association for Cancer Research San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
TSU shooting: 1 dead, 1 wounded in third shooting this week at Houston campus
Listeria threat prompts Whole Foods cheese recall
Russia says missiles aimed at Syria did not land in Iran
Captive orca breeding banned at California's SeaWorld
Wrong drug used in Oklahoma execution