Deadly breast cancer has genetic diversity: study

VANCOUVER. April 6. KAZINFORM A group of scientists have found that triple negative breast cancer has genetic diversity in its tumors, which may change the way it is treated, according to Xinhua.

The findings, published Wednesday by Journal Nature, may also help explain why triple negative breast cancer, which represents 16 percent of all breast cancer, is so difficult to treat.

An international team of 59 scientists, including four from Vancouver-based Simon Fraser University (SFU), had this discovery after carrying out the largest genetic analysis of what were thought to be triple negative breast cancer tumors.

They expected to see similar gene profiles when mapping on computer the genomes of 100 tumors, but eventually found no two genomes were similar, let alone the same.

"Seeing these tumors at a molecular level has taught us we're dealing with a continuum of different types of breast cancer here, not just one," explains Steven Jones, an SFU molecular biology and biochemistry professor that is co-author of this study.

"These findings prove the importance of personalizing cancer drug treatment so that it targets the genetic make up of a particular tumor rather than presuming one therapy can treat multiple, similar-looking tumors," added the professor.

Scientists consider triple negative breast cancer the most deadly form of breast cancer because it doesn't respond well to modern drug therapies, which knock out receptors found in most breast cancers but not this one.

Typically, triple negative breast cancer patients need to try many ways of treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, in order to have any hope of surviving.

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