Inherited Factors Play an Important Role in Breast Cancer Progression According to Mice Study
A new study in mice confirms that gene factors play an important role in breast cancer progression.
Akinso: A new study in mice confirms that gene factors play an important role in breast cancer progression. In the study, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, scientists found that genes for factors contributing to susceptibility for breast cancer metastasis can be inherited. Dr. Kent Hunter, from the NCI, is the author of the study.
Hunter: We know that tumor susceptibility can run in families. So if you have patients whose parents had the same types of cancer that spread, those patients are more likely to have tumors that spread than patients who had parents with tumors that didn't spread. So in addition to whatever random chance events that occur your family history also plays an important role in whether or not tumors will spread or not.
Akinso: The study results also show that gene activities in tumor cells and immune cells that invade tumors can contribute to the development of expression profiles called gene signatures which can predict cancer progression. Expression profiling is the measurement of the activity of thousands of genes at once to create a global picture of cellular function. To determine whether mouse gene expression profiles could be used to predict outcomes in human breast cancer, the investigators identified a gene expression signature that allowed them to distinguish between the tumors of mice that have a high or low inherited susceptibility of tumor metastasis. Dr. Hunter explains the progression of the study.
Hunter: We started with an animal model, in this case a mouse model, to do the genetics and find the information about the inheritance and the inherited traits. After that we've then gone into human samples and human populations to confirm the results that what we've seen in the mouse models is applicable to humans and it seems to be just as applicable in humans as in our mouse models.
Akinso: Dr. Hunter says the study provides additional evidence of the role of inherited genes in human breast cancer. He added that down the road they hope to develop more effective and therapeutic strategies. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Kent Hunter
Topic: Breast Cancer