Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_95653

Two genes linked to breast cancer survival

22 August 2016
Appeared in BioNews 865

Two key genes capable of predicting 10-year disease-specific survival outcomes in breast cancer patients have been identified by researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

Published in the journal Oncotarget, the recent study of a cohort of 1964 patients suggests that the genes F12 and STC2 influence the interaction and adhesion of cancer cells to the protein laminin. This constitutes an important part of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that is the 'anchor' that keeps cancer cells from spreading through blood and lymphatic vessels to other organs of the body. If breast cancer cells migrate and spread around the body, this can result in patient death.

Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the ICR, said: 'We have seen major strides in the treatment of breast cancer, but once it begins to spread round the body it is still often fatal. This new study helps us understand some of the processes that control how breast cancers spread, and identifies a pattern of genetic activity that could be used to pick out women particularly at risk.'

Researchers used a newly developed image-based in vitro screening technique to identify breast cancer cells containing the protein HER-2, where the cells did not adhere to the ECM. HER-2 is found in one-fifth of breast cancer tumours. This led to the identification of the genes STC2 and F12 as independent prognostic factors.

STC2 encodes the protein stanniocalcin 2, and reduced expression of STC2 impairs laminin adhesion and results in enhanced breast cancer cell growth and migration. STC2 is therefore a positive indicator for disease-free survival.

F12, which codes for the blood plasma coagulation factor XII, also potently induces cell division, leading to the proliferation of cancer cells. This study is the first to announce F12 as a negative indicator for overall survival and as a potential therapeutic target.

The researchers categorised patients into four prognostic subgroups, according to the expression of the two genes. F12-high/STC2-low tumours were associated with the poorest outcome of a 32 percent chance of death within ten years. The lowest chance (ten percent) was reported for F12-low/STC2-high tumours.        

Dr Paul Huang, leader of the Protein Networks Team at the ICR, said: 'If the results are confirmed in larger studies, it could give us a new way of assessing women's survival chances in the clinic, and adjusting treatment accordingly.'
SOURCES & REFERENCES
Activity of two genes 'linked to breast cancer survival'
Daily Express |  17 August 2016
Risk of breast cancer spreading predicted by two genes
The Times (subscription) |  18 August 2016
Study links two genes to breast cancer survival
The Institute of Cancer Research (press release) |  17 August 2016
Systematic analysis of tumour cell-extracellular matrix adhesion identifies independent prognostic factors in breast cancer
Oncotarget |  17 August 2016
Two Genes May Help Predict Breast Cancer Survival
WebMD |  18 August 2016
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
21 May 2018 - by Christie Whitehouse 
A new study indicates that an important drug used to treat breast cancer is just as effective when the course of treatment is shortened by half.
28 November 2016 - by Anna Leida 
Having two copies of the X chromosome may help explain why females get cancer less often than males, according to new research...
26 September 2016 - by Ebtehal Moussa 
A new gene therapy technique using microRNAs has successfully prevented the spread of breast cancer in mice...
8 August 2016 - by Amina Yonis 
More than half of patients with sarcoma, a rare cancer, have mutations that are known to increase the risk of other types of cancer...
25 July 2016 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
IVF treatment does not increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer later in life, a study has found...
18 July 2016 - by Hannah Somers 
Researchers have developed a new pathway for genetically testing ovarian cancer patients which they say will save both lives and money...
31 May 2016 - by Amina Yonis 
Researchers in the USA have found that following a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer among certain women with a strong genetic disposition to the condition...
9 May 2016 - by Hannah Somers 
What researchers claim as the largest-ever whole-genome sequencing study in breast cancer has revealed five previously unidentified genes which drive the development of the disease...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.