With the recent advancements in the field of cancer and our improved understanding of genetic mechanisms behind the development for breast cancer, an effective strategy to treat the disease is not so far .
The ADAMTS genes are recent additions to a large family known as the metalloproteinases - many of which can break down tissues and have therefore been linked with tumor metastasis, or spread, through the body. Earlier studies have shown that 11 of the 19 ADAMTS genes in humans are significantly altered as breast cancer develops. Latest research now focuses on two of the genes, ADAMTS8 and ADAMTS15, which can help to predict disease outcome in breast cancer patients Differing levels of activity of these genes means that patients can be grouped into one of four categories. These categories could be used to predict the likelihood of the breast cancer recurring. Those in the highest risk category are three times more likely to have a recurrence of breast cancer, and over five times more likely to die from the disease, than patients in the lowest risk category.
AdvertisementIt has now been discovered that several 'ADAMTS' genes are turned off in breast cancer compared to normal breast tissue, while others are switched on. These genes could be targets for the development of 'smart' drugs tailored to treat individual patients' tumours. These new findings suggest they could become robust 'markers', predicting disease outcome in breast cancer patients and identifying those patients most at risk of recurrence of the disease. "We are beginning to understand how genes contribute to breast cancer development and I am confident this work will ultimately prove valuable for both diagnosis and treatment of the disease," said Prof Edwards, one of the senior researchers involved.
The spread of breast cancer around the body is the single most important factor in breast cancer mortality. The findings of this research will play a major role in improving the future of breast cancer treatment which will focus on drug regimes tailored to the individual patient.