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 Diabetes mellitus: A risk factor for early colorectal cancer
27.05.2020 | Nationales Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT) Heidelberg

nachricht Ultra-thin fibres designed to protect nerves after brain surgery
27.05.2020 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>