Researches discovered genes that predict whether trastuzumab will work for breast cancer patients

December 8, 2012, Mayo Clinic

Adding the drug trastuzumab to chemotherapy prevents cancer recurrence and improves survival in a large number of women with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer. But trastuzumab does not stop tumors from returning in about 25 percent of patients—and oncologists haven't been able to identify these women before treatment. This situation may soon change, according to a Mayo Clinic study being presented at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

A team of U.S. researchers, led by oncologists at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, have discovered 27 genes that are significantly associated with a good outcome with concurrent use of trastuzumab and chemotherapy, as well as five other genes linked to a poor outcome using the same .

Results of their study—believed to be the first to use profiling to predict outcome to trastuzumab as part of adjuvant breast cancer therapy—offer a number of future potential benefits, says Edith Perez, M.D., deputy director at large of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Translational Genomics Program at Mayo Clinic.

"These findings also are getting us closer to unraveling the that are relevant to patient outcome, which will help us improve clinical care," Dr. Perez says.

For example, the discovery may help scientists devise a genetic test that can help oncologists select the best treatment for their HER2-positive patients, she says.

Further analysis will illuminate the inner biological workings of individual HER2-positive tumors, which could provide clues for novel treatments, Dr. Perez adds. The researchers have already found that the genes linked to outcome can be grouped into different categories that affect tumor functioning, such as cell cycle, cell death, cell receptor signaling, and .

Dr. Perez and her team plan to validate their findings through collaborations with researchers in the United States and Europe who have led other trastuzumab clinical studies.

"We are on our way to developing a predictive test that can define the right treatment for individual patients, and that is very exciting," she says.

Explore further: Proteins do not predict outcome of herceptin treatment in HER2-positive breast cancer

Related Stories

Proteins do not predict outcome of herceptin treatment in HER2-positive breast cancer

December 9, 2011
Precisely quantifying the amount of three different HER growth proteins, along with several other proteins believed linked to breast cancer, did not predict a patient's outcome after treatment for HER2-Positive Breast Cancer ...

Obese patients with HER2-positive breast cancer may have worse outcomes

December 8, 2011
Obese patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer may have worse outcomes than patients who are normal weight or overweight, Mayo Clinic researchers found in a study presented today at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio ...

Enhancing the effectiveness of a breast cancer treatment

February 13, 2012
Breast cancers expressing the protein HER2 have a particularly poor prognosis. Treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) benefits some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but it is not as effective as had been hoped. ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

0 comments

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.