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Novel Breast Cancer Target Reported!

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By Author: Jerry Carter
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In an attempt to understand what mechanisms drive breast cells to become cancerous, scientists from Indiana University and other institutions have identified a specific target that could help develop novel breast cancer therapies. "TONSL Is an Immortalizing Oncogene and a Therapeutic Target in Breast Cancer" was published in the international journal Cancer Research.

"When comparing healthy breast tissue with cancerous cells, we wanted to elucidate the genomic changes that occur in the earliest stages of cancer development," stated researcher Harikrishna Nakshatri. "TONSL may contribute to breast cell indefinite proliferation, we found."

The researchers found that the TONSL gene is amplified in approximately 20% of breast cancers, and that this percentage can exceed 30% in metastatic breast cancers. To do this, they used healthy breast cells from the Komen tissue sample bank at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Research Center to understand the earliest changes that occur in healthy cells during the cancerous process.

Most cancer research to date has focused on what exactly happens when cancer progresses, ...
... but the earliest events leading to cancer development may be difficult to elucidate. The earliest step in cancer development is that these cells acquire the ability to proliferate, which is a critical first step for researchers using tissue models from the Komen tissue sample bank.

"The TONSL protein can interact with other proteins, including FACT, and in the scaled-up breast cancer model we developed with TONSL, breast cancer is highly susceptible to current drugs that target the FACT complex, and we now hope that the findings will be translated to the development of novel breast cancer therapies in the future," said researcher Nakshatri.

The incidence of breast cancer is significantly higher in industrialized nations, but the five-year survival rate is significantly better than that of developing nations. The most common kind of cancer in women is breast cancer, which accounts for 25% of all occurrences worldwide. The incidence of breast cancer in women is about 100 times higher than that in males. Researchers have found that hormones, particular ways of life, and environmental variables may all contribute to an increased chance of developing breast cancer. It is likely that breast cancer is caused by a complicated interaction between a person's genetic makeup and the environment in which they were raised.

Since the late 1970s, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of cases of breast cancer reported around the world. During their lifetime, one out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In today's society, breast cancer has developed into a significant hazard to the general public's health. Since the 1990s, there has been a general trend toward a decline in the mortality rate attributable to breast cancer. This may be attributed, first, to the development of breast cancer screening, which has led to an increase in the proportion of early cases, and, second, to the development of comprehensive treatment against breast cancer, which has led to an improvement in the curative effect. Because of these factors, breast cancer is one of the solid tumors that is treatable to a significant degree.

The main signaling pathways in breast cancer are the MAPK pathway, Wnt pathway, P13K-Akt pathway, p53 pathway, and Notch signal pathway, and associated factors involve human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

Taken together, the results of this paper identify the TONSL gene as a key regulator of epithelial cell immortalization that may facilitate cancer initiation and serve as a potential target for future scientists developing novel breast cancer therapies.

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