Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular tag pinpoints which breast cancer tumors are most likely to spread

14.11.2002


A new molecular tag discovered by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center may help doctors decide which breast cancer patients need more aggressive treatment and which can forego the potentially toxic course of chemotherapy.



Khandan Keyomarsi, Ph.D., associate professor in experimental radiation at M. D. Anderson, and her colleagues report in the November 14, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that high levels of a protein called cyclin E are closely associated with aggressive, invasive breast cancer. The study, conducted with tissue samples of current or former breast cancer patients, appears to show that cyclin E is a much better predictor of patient outcome than any current predictive marker. However, says Keyomarsi, the study must be repeated with newly diagnosed patients to determine its true predictive value.

The ability to predict which breast cancer tumors will recur or spread throughout the body is an important aspect of breast cancer treatment, says Keyomarsi. Currently, the prognosis for women diagnosed with breast cancer is determined by whether tumor cells have spread to lymph nodes. But some women who have cancer cells in the lymph nodes never have a recurrence, while others whose cancer has not spread do have a recurrence. Yet many women, after discussions with their doctors, opt to undergo grueling chemotherapy in hopes of ensuring any rogue cancer cells that may be present are killed. If an accurate predictive marker were available, many women could be spared chemotherapy, she says.


In the study, Keyomarsi and her colleagues looked for the presence of cyclin E because when this protein is present at high levels inside cancer cells it signals cells to multiply all the time. In normal cells, cyclin E is present only for a short time and helps keep cell division under tight control. In addition, the scientists discovered smaller versions of cyclin E that are not present in normal cells. These low molecular weight versions are generated by an enzyme that chops up the normal cyclin E and in the process creates a new form that is even better at signaling cells to divide.

"We have shown the occurrence of low molecular weight forms of cyclin E that are not found in normal cells and are present throughout cell cycle in cancer cells," says Keyomarsi. "These abnormal forms of cyclin E are always giving the ’go’ signal, telling cells to divide."

The scientists examined tumor tissue from 395 patients with breast cancer. Of those patients with stage one breast cancer, in which a single tumor is found and the cancer has not yet spread, about 10 percent had high levels of cyclin E in their cancer cells. All of these patients had died from a recurrence of breast cancer within five years of diagnosis, while none of the patients who had low levels of cyclin E had died. The proportion of tumors that had high levels of cyclin E increased with increasing extent of disease.

"This study shows that the presence of low molecular weight forms of cyclin E has a very powerful prognostic value," says Keyomarsi. "However, we have to validate the study using newly diagnosed patients in which we are blinded to the diagnosis. We are in the midst of that study now. If it bears out our initial results, we will try to get it into the clinic as soon as possible, though it may be at least one year."

Keyomarsi points out, however, that the specialized laboratory technique, called a western blot, used in her study is not available in most clinical laboratories that test patient samples. In order for the results to be used, testing laboratories would need to learn how do use the new technique.

"My hope is that this technique may help ease the burden of chemotherapy among breast cancer patients," says Keyomarsi. "Women who don’t overexpress cyclin E may not need chemotherapy, which kills all dividing cells and can do significant damage to other tissues and organs."

For those patients who have high levels of cyclin E more aggressive treatment would be indicated, she says. And intensive research is now underway at M. D. Anderson to find ways to stop production or block cyclin E in those patients where it is present.


Keyomarsi’s research was supported by grants from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command and the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Keyomarsi holds U.S. patents (#5,543,291 and #5,763,219) on the use of cyclin E to detect and treat cancer.

Laura Sussman | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>