Switch Turns On Deadly Breast Cancer
Reported November 12, 2007
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A deadly form of breast cancer may rely on a molecular switch that could provide a target for new and better treatments for the disease.
Researchers from NYU School of Medicine found the switch in a study carried out in women with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) and mice. LACB is characterized by large tumors that have usually spread into the lymph nodes by the time they are discovered. It accounts for about half of all breast cancers in developing countries and about 30 percent of breast cancers diagnosed in low income and minority women in the U.S.
Even with treatment, the cancer leads to more deaths than other forms of breast cancer. Without treatment, less than 20 percent of women will survive five years.
The discovery began with the identification of two molecules that are overproduced in LACB. These molecules then foster a switch in messenger RNA, which leads to the over-expression of proteins necessary for a tumor to develop a healthy blood supply, a process known as angiogenesis. Once the tumors have a good blood supply, they can grow out of control.
The researchers hope the discovery can one day be used to find a better way to treat LABC. The identification of the molecular switch and its importance for development of locally advanced breast cancer reveals realistic targets for the development of new therapeutics to block tumor angiogenesis and progression in breast and possibly other cancers, study author Robert J. Schneider, Ph.D., was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Molecular Cell, published online Nov. 8, 2007