Fifty-five genes linked to a powerful tumor suppressor predict breast cancer survival

February 11, 2014

A panel of 55 genes, almost all of which are impacted by the loss of a particular protein, appears to predict if breast cancer will become invasive, leading to poorer survival, researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center report in PLOS ONE.

The panel represents loss of a powerful , SYK, as well as genetic alterations in 51 other genes that are directly affected by the loss of a copy of the SYK gene and the absence of its protein.

"Without SYK, the protein it makes, and genetic disruption in a set of genes thought also to be controlled by SYK, cancer invades and metastasizes," says the study's senior investigator, Susette C. Mueller, PhD, professor of oncology emeritus at Georgetown Lombardi.

Mueller and her colleagues examined the loss of SYK in tissue from breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a cancer contained within the breast ducts that sometimes morphs and invades surrounding tissue. Samples that had a loss of one copy of the SYK also had evidence of invasive ductal carcinoma nearby. None of the normal samples, or of the DCIS-only tissue, had loss of SYK.

"This was the first time that a loss of a SYK gene was found in DCIS breast tissue, but we needed information about the outcomes of these cases to determine the significance of this finding," says Mueller.

So the scientists turned to The Cancer Genome Atlas at the National Institutes of Health, a catalogue containing gene sequencing and gene mutations from with invasive disease, along with outcome information.

When they matched changes in the 55 genes to the patients' outcomes, the researchers found that the panel was predictive of which patients fared better, Mueller says.

"Survival was much better in the patients who did not have any change in the 55 genes," she adds.

At the end of more than 18 years of follow-up, an estimated 80 percent of patients without gene changes were still alive. In contrast, about 20 percent of patients with changes in one or more of the were alive.

"The panel is not ready for use as a prognostic tool in the clinic, and much work is required to test it in that way," Mueller cautions.

Explore further: Combined RB and PTEN loss identifies DCIS primed for invasive breast cancer

Related Stories

Combined RB and PTEN loss identifies DCIS primed for invasive breast cancer

November 28, 2012
The combined loss of two tumor suppressor genes, retinoblastoma (RB) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) was shown to be strongly associated with progression of DCIS to invasive breast cancer, according to a study published ...

New findings could tackle over-diagnosis and over-treatment of breast cancer

December 4, 2013
New research from Queen Mary University of London has revealed, for the first time, the molecule αvβ6 (alpha v beta 6) could tell doctors which cases of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), a condition where non-invasive cancerous ...

Normal enzyme aids a mutant one to fuel blood cancer's growth

February 10, 2014
Reinforcing the need to look beyond genomic alterations to understand the complexity of cancer, researchers from Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center report that a normal enzyme called SYK pairs ...

New study sheds new light on the progression and invasiveness of ductal breast cancer

October 16, 2012
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is considered a precursor lesion for invasive breast cancer if untreated, and is found in approximately 45% of patients with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). Patients with DCIS only (not accompanied ...

Breast conserving treatment with radiotherapy reduces risk of local recurrence

September 18, 2013
Results of EORTC trial 10853 appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology show that breast conserving treatment combined with radiotherapy reduces the risk of local recurrence in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). ...

Recommended for you

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

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.