Scientists reported Sunday that they have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease. They hope their work will lead to more effective treatments, perhaps with some drugs already in use.
The new finding offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer.
The study, published online Sunday by the journal Nature, is the latest example of research into the biological details of tumors, rather than focusing primarily on where cancer arises in the body.
The hope is that such research can reveal cancer's genetic weaknesses for better drug targeting.
"With this study, we're one giant step closer to understanding the genetic origins of the four major subtypes of breast cancer," Dr. Matthew Ellis of the Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement. He is a co-leader of the research. "Now we can investigate which drugs work best for patients based on the genetic profiles of their tumors," he said.
The researchers analyzed DNA of breast cancer tumors from 825 patients, looking for abnormalities. Altogether, they reported, breast cancers appear to fall into four main classes when viewed in this way.
One class showed similarities to ovarian cancers, suggesting it may be driven by similar biological developments.
"It's clear they are genetically more similar to ovarian tumors than to other breast cancers," Ellis said. "Whether they can be treated the same way is an intriguing possibility that needs to be explored."
The report is the latest from the Cancer Genome Atlas, a federally funded project that has produced similar analyses for brain, colorectal, lung, and ovarian cancers.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Posted: 05/07/2013 - The North Carolina Attorney General says just requesting information online for a payday loan can put your information and your money at risk.
Updated: 03/12/2013 - Federal officials have helped the family of a Raleigh woman recover $45,000 of the nearly $200,000 that she lost to Jamaican scammers who told her that she had won a lottery prize.
Posted: 01/15/2013 - The N.C. Attorney General's Office says they received more than 600 calls in 2012 about getting telemarketing calls pitching alarm systems.
Updated: 12/14/2012 - Wayne County deputies have charged two men and a woman for scamming people into donating to Toys for Tots and local fire departments.
Updated: 11/15/2012 - A startling message is popping up on computers everywhere claiming to be from the FBI saying your computer is locked and you're under investigation.
Updated: 11/08/2012 - As you get started on your holiday shopping list, online shopping can be a great way to snag a great deal. However, not all internet merchants are created equal, and low prices can blind consumers from spotting counterfeit items.
Posted: 08/23/2012 - With less than three months until the election in November, election-related scams are popping up. Here's one to avoid.
Updated: 08/17/2012 - The Federal Trade Commission wants parents to know that many school forms require personal and sensitive information that, in the wrong hands, could be used to commit fraud in your child's name
Updated: 08/01/2012 - The Pitt County Board of Elections says if a woman claiming to work for the agency knocks on your door, you're asked to call the board.