Genome for ER Positive Breast Cancers
Back to the science today. After a couple of days of completely non-medical entries, today I am sharing an editorial from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute about the genome of ER positive breast cancers. Tamoxifen, the first drug targeted to treat these breast cancers, was approved for use in the US in 1977. That was quite a while ago, and much more is known about its efficacy now. There has been a huge amount of progress in cancer research, not just for breast cancer, around pathways and targeted therapies. It is exiciting to realize that we are still at the beginning of these discoveries.
Here is the introduction and then a link to read more:
Understanding the Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer
Genome: Not Even the End of the Beginning
Brian A. Van Tine, Matthew J. Ellis
Global gene expression analysis has been used to subcategorize breast tumors into risk groups or intrinsic subtypes that have value clinically. However, our understanding of the cancer biology associated with these genes sets often remains obscure and, to add to the confusion, the same biology (eg, poor outcome on adjuvant tamoxifen therapy) can be predicted by different gene expression profiles with only partial overlap (1-3). Furthermore, the advent of massive parallel sequencing is adding another and even more startling level of complexity to the problem of biological interpretation (4,5). Careful well-powered molecular epidemiological studies are therefore necessary as a first step toward biological annotation to prioritize the genes and pathways most strongly associated with poor outcome. We also need high-fidelity models of breast cancer to efficiently and accurately test the roles of multiple genes in breast cancer biology. The ultimate goal of functional annotation efforts is to identify driver gene aberrations that can be targeted for therapy so that outcomes can be improved.