New research gives deeper understanding of why some breast cancers are hard to treat

Following on from last week’s article Scientists hail ‘Milestone’ genetic find for breast cancer which looked at which mutated genes are more likely to cause cancer, scientists have been able to use this data to analyse that breast cancer can be classified into 10 different diseases.

By researching these 10 subtypes of breast cancer scientists at the University of Cambridge found 40 mutated genes which cause the cancer to progress. Only a fraction of these genes prior to this study were known to be involved in the development of breast cancer.

One of the most commonly mutated genes is called PIK3CA which is linked to lower rates of survival in 3 of the 10 subgroups. This has also lead the research team to conclude why some drugs work for some women but not for others.

Researchers now believe the results could help find future drugs which target genetic faults to stop the disease from progressing whilst providing vital information for improving trials and tests for the disease.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “Our research continues to highlight just how complicated cancers are, but we are managing to solve these puzzles faster than ever. This study gives us more vital information about how breast cancer develops and why some types are more difficult to treat than others, and this information is a great resource for researchers all over the world. Research like this will help us invent new diagnostic tests to guide treatment for breast cancer patients in the future.”

To read more about this please visit Cancer Research UK