Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers discover a DNA marker may indicate differences in breast cancer

Researchers and doctors at the North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered a potential explanation for why breast cancer is not experienced the same way with African American and Caucasian patients.

This data will be presented at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting to be held from Friday through Tuesday (June 1-5) in Chicago, IL.

Breast cancer is more common in Caucasian women than in African American women; however, African American women experience a more aggressive form of breast cancer that occurs almost a decade earlier than Caucasian women. Because of this, African American women have a lower breast cancer survival rate than Caucasian women.

To explore the reasons why, researchers and doctors at the North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research conducted a study to determine 1) why the expression of a genetic marker embedded in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), called microRNA, differs between African American and Caucasian women, and 2) if variation in microRNAs may explain the observed survival difference between African American and Caucasian women.

In this study, microRNA profiles from the blood of 32 female patients were collected before removal of breast tumors. The mean age of the patients was 50 years, ranging from age 31 to 68, and 10 of the patients had stage III triple-negative breast cancer (five were African American and five were Caucasian), 10 patients had stage III estrogen-receptor or progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer (five were African American and five were Caucasian), and 12 patients were controls (six were African American and six were Caucasian).

Triple-negative breast cancer refers to any breast cancer that does not express three receptors known to advance most breast cancers; estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Although triple-negative breast cancer is estrogen-receptor negative, progesterone-receptor negative and HER2 negative, and the most successful treatments for breast cancer target these receptors, triple-negative breast cancer typically responds to chemotherapy.

The study found that, 1) female Caucasian patients who had triple-negative breast cancer overexpressed 20 microRNAs (15 times higher than the controls), and none of the microRNAs these patients had were found in any of the African American patients, 2) female African American breast cancer patients overexpressed only six microRNAs (15 times higher than the controls), and none of these microRNAs were detected in Caucasian patients who had triple-negative breast cancer, and 3) four microRNAs in African American patients and eight microRNAs in Caucasian patients were not previously reported in association with breast cancer, which suggests that they may be connected to how the patient reacts to cancer.

"The striking difference in the patterns of microRNA expression between African American and Caucasian breast cancer patients may provide insight into answering why, when receiving similar treatments, outcomes are different between African Americans and Caucasians," said Iuliana Shapira, MD, director of the Cancer Genetics Program at the North Shore-LIJ Health System's Monter Cancer Center. "Breast cancer patients who have the most devastating outcome may carry the microRNAs that promote cancer. What we saw in this study is that Caucasian women may carry microRNAs that protect against cancer while African American women do not express those microRNAs. The lack of expressing these microRNAs in African Americans could be the cause of poor outcomes seen in these women. Methods to increase microRNAs in the blood before surgery for cancer, such as giving chemotherapy before surgery for cancer, may improve survival rates in African American women with triple-negative breast cancer."

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in cancer research, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 5th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers.

Emily Ng | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>