Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Aggressive subtype of breast cancer displays ’misbehavior’ of X chromosomes


Basal-like breast cancers (BLC) are highly aggressive tumors with a relatively poor prognosis that account for approximately 15% of sporadic human breast cancer. Sporadic BLC share certain characteristics with most of the breast cancers from patients carrying a germline mutation in the BRCA1 breast cancer suppressor gene. Among their similarities, sporadic BLC and BRCA1 cancers do not express the estrogen receptor and do not overproduce HER2 protein. Thus, therapeutics targeting estrogen receptor or targeting HER2 currently used in treating some other types of breast cancers are unlikely to be useful for treating these breast cancers. However, sporadic BLC contain normal BRCA1 genes. A new study published in the February issue of Cancer Cell provides evidence that X chromosome abnormalities contribute to the pathogenesis of both the sporadic BRCA1 normal BLC and the inherited BRCA1 mutant breast cancer.

Defects in the BRCA1 gene have been linked to an abnormality in a mechanism that contributes to the stability of sex chromosomes in women. In mammals, male cells contain an X and a Y chromosome, while female cells contain two X chromosomes. Normally, a process called X inactivation occurs in early female embryos; it leads to silencing of one of the two X chromosomes in derivative embryonic and adult somatic cells. The authors had previously shown that loss of the inactive X chromosome (Xi) occurs in BRCA1 mutation-carrying breast cancers. Given the similarities between BRCA1-associated cancer and sporadic BLC, Drs. Andrea Richardson, Zhigang Wang, Dirk Iglehart, David M. Livingston, and Shridar Ganesan, and colleagues from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, examined whether sporadic BLC display abnormalities in the management of the Xi chromosome.

The researchers found that, like BRCA1-associated cancers, most sporadic BLC have consistently lost the Xi and displayed a higher than normal number of apparently active X chromosomes These tumors also showed increased expression of a small, but specific, subset of X chromosomal genes. Interestingly, since all sporadic BLC analyzed displayed normal BRCA1 genes and gene expression, it was hypothesized that BLC have acquired defects in genes other than BRCA1 that contribute to some of the same cellular pathways as those that are defective in BRCA1-associated cancers. One wonders whether one or more of these pathways support(s) the maintenance of a normal Xi. "These results provide new insight into possible pathogenic mechanisms underlying both sporadic and BRCA1-associated basal-like breast cancer," explain the authors. Ideally, a better understanding of how two active X chromosomes are associated with cancer development and progression could lead to new insights into rational treatment strategies for these subtypes of breast cancer.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>