Study finds breast and ovarian cancer may have similar origins

While breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, ovarian cancer also is a significant source of mortality as the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. These facts reflect the continued need for further understanding and innovation in cancer treatment.

A new study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, describes a new concept of how these two cancers may evolve in a similar way and may eventually lead to more effective therapies for both.

"Though breast and ovarian cancer are distinctly clinically different, our analysis uncovered many overlaps, particularly with respect to genetic and epigenetic alterations," explained corresponding author Sibaji Sarkar, PhD, instructor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). (Epigenetics is when genetically identical cells express their genes differently, causing different outcomes.)

BUSM researchers compared genetic, micro-environmental, stromal ( of any organ) and epigenetic changes common between breast and , as well as the clinical relevance of these changes. They observed that selected genes including some oncogenes and are similarly altered in these two types of cancers.

The study also presents a new model that explains how growth promoting genes could be epigenetically turned on and growth inhibiting genes could be epigenetically turned off in cancer cell formation.

"Both breast and may have a similar origin. These similarities suggest that better understanding of this process will generate more effective chemotherapeutics, as well as strategies to circumvent drug resistance and cancer relapse," added Sarkar.

Explore further

Epigenetic regulation of metastatic breast cancer progression may guide prognosis and future therapy

Citation: Study finds breast and ovarian cancer may have similar origins (2016, May 23) retrieved 5 December 2021 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors