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5 Highlights of the New Breast Cancer Study

From The Daily Beast; By Lizzie Crocker;

“Groundbreaking new research has discovered four distinct types of breast cancer, possibly opening the door to better treatment. What you should know about the study one of its authors called ‘the breast-cancer equivalent of putting a man or woman on the moon.’ “

The Study’s Purpose

Part of a large federal project known as the Cancer Genome Atlas, the study-which was published in the science journal Nature-focused on the most common types of breast cancer and on breast cancers that hadn’t yet metastasized to other parts of the body, looking closely for genetic changes in the process. While similar studies have been published recently on lung and colon cancer, “there has never been a breast cancer genomics project on this scale,” the Atlas program director, Brad Ozenberger of the National Institutes of Health, told The New York Times.

Researchers analyzed tumors in 825 patients and found that most tumors are caused by mutations in 30 to 50 genes, leading them to identify four different types of breast cancer, each with uniquely different genetic traits: luminal A and B cancers, HER2-enriched cancers, and basal-like cancers. The latter is a relatively rare but particularly deadly strain with tumor cells that resemble the basal cells of the skin and sweat glands. Read More.