Cleveland Clinic Researchers Finds Breast Cancer Breakthrough

Henrietta Strickland
October 24, 2017

For the study, researchers examined the tissues of 78 patients who underwent mastectomies related to breast cancer.

The studies identified genetic regions specifically associated with either estrogen-receptor positive or estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, underscoring the fact that these are biologically distinct cancers that develop differently.

Rutkowski's research suggests that manipulating the microbiome may lead to better outcomes in patients with breast cancer.

Despite this leap in our understanding of the genetic risks of breast cancer, Bader says that the data still can't explain most of breast cancer cases and are not yet widely useful for population screening.

The OncoArray Consortium project involved 550 researchers from around 300 different institutions on six continents.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the USA, affecting one in every eight women.

'A better understanding of the biological basis of oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer could lead to more effective preventative interventions and treatments, ' he said. And although rare in men, there are still some 350 male breast cancer diagnoses in the United Kingdom each year.

"We know that breast cancer is caused by complex interactions between these genetic variants and our environment, but these newly discovered markers bring the number of known variants associated with breast cancer to around 180".

"This is a pilot study", Dr. Charis Eng from the Cleveland Clinic said, "that looked at breast cancers and non-cancerous breast tissues". But because they are common and their effects multiply together, the combined effect is considerable.

The majority of the variants found were not found within genes, but within regions of the genome that regulate the activity of nearby genes.

As a result they found 65 genetic variants that predispose women to overall risk of breast cancer.

The researchers believe that in future they could test for the genetic variants to prevent or treat the disease in women who are at higher risk.

Professor Jacques Simard, from Laval University in Quebec city, Canada, another member of the worldwide team, said: 'Using data from genomic studies, combined with information on other known risk factors, will allow better breast cancer risk assessment, therefore helping to identify a small but meaningful proportion of women at high risk of breast cancer.

'These gene changes now have the potential to be incorporated into existing models to more accurately predict an individual's risk, and to improve both prevention and early detection of the disease.

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